Hotel design inspiration on Berlin’s streets
Hotel design inspiration on Berlin’s streets
04 FEBRUARY 2016 1:14 PM

Highlighting individual human expression—even if it means looking in unexpected places such as street art—is one of our greatest tasks when it comes to hotel design.

Art has always been an endless source of inspiration for both my design work and my personal life. Creative expression of all kinds allures and intrigues me. As an avid traveler—this past year took me to cities from Nashville, Tennessee, to Zagreb, Croatia, for work and for fun—art museums are often the first place I stop to absorb local culture. 
While in Berlin this fall, I had the pleasure of finding impactful, incredibly inspiring art in an unconventional place. Not only did I visit Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum (an architectural must-see), but I discovered an entirely new, non-traditional type of museum: the streets of Berlin. 
My curiosity was piqued by a fascinating street art tour. While immersed in learning about the process and community of Berlin’s talented street artists, I discovered an appreciation for these vibrant masterpieces and the visionary people who create them. 
Growing up in New York City, I recall a time when the subways were covered with graffiti, which was then considered vandalism—a criminal infringement of the city’s surfaces. My perspective shifted when I moved west to San Francisco. There, I took notice of the incredible murals and street art that add color, expression and beauty to the city. Vivid and powerful, I became entranced with artwork I passed on my daily commute by foot. But it was not until my recent trip to Berlin that the appreciation for these works and my knowledge of the street artists’ creative processes were truly heightened. 
Some points of interest include:
1. Speed
The artist cannot get caught, so the stakes are much higher than they are for traditional art. If caught, the consequences for street artists include a significant fee—possibly even prison. 

2. Territory
Among street artists, it’s considered disrespectful to cover another artist’s “tag.” An endless battle of retribution—tags on top of tags—will ensue if any naive artist makes this mistake. Blank, freshly painted walls are a street artist’s dream.
3. Acrobatic feats
Dropping down the side of building, artists will suspend themselves by precarious means just to accomplish an epic tag. The greatest artists will stop at nothing. 

4. Visibility and impact 
The goal is always to get the most notoriety within a given community. High-visibility tags—either very large or tall, or repetitive—are the quickest paths to success. 

5. Unique methods
A great level of detail and thought goes into a street artist establishing his or her style. The stencil method is quite popular, though some artists even create stickers (which enables a speedy application and lowers the odds of being caught). 

Creating a story
The unique challenges and techniques behind each piece of street art create a bigger story that relates to the artist’s mastery of his or her craft and the extensive personal and even physical risks he or she is willing to take for art. Passion and sacrifice fuel these individuals, who will stop at nothing to express themselves. 
My biggest “a-ha” moment? Street art is far from vandalism. This an impressive art form that must be recognized in its own right, even though it does not exist within the formal bounds of a museum or gallery’s walls. 
The incredible colors and line-work I witnessed on the streets were breathtaking. As a fellow creative, I can relate for the continual search for new modes of expression and ideas. 
In the realm of design for the hospitality industry, art continues to be a focal point and is instrumental to the guest experience. Whether in a hotel lobby or a guestroom, the key is to make the guest experience unique and memorable. Highlighting individual human expression—even if it means looking in unexpected places or seeing something in an entirely new light—is one of our greatest tasks. 
I was given the opportunity to try my hand at the street art method of “stenciling.” Here’s the finished product. 

An expert in the hospitality industry, Amy brings demonstrated leadership and an extensive background to the Puccini Group team. A graduate of New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, Amy is NCIDQ certified and a licensed designer in New York and in Nevada. She is an active member of many professional organizations, including the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Additionally, Amy recently served as President of the New York Chapter of NEWH and sits on the NCD 2015 International Advisory Board for the Guri World Design Center in Korea.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Columnists published on this site are given the freedom to express views that might be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns. 

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