Yan Will Provide Artwork For Le Meridien’s UNLOCK ART Program While Chen’s Artwork Will Adorn “High Impact Areas”
Another week, another high-profile partnership between an established global brand and Chinese contemporary artists — this time the French luxury hotel chain Le Meridien and artists Yan Lei and Chen Wenbo. With the marketplace for international brands in China becoming ever more crowded, and with interest in Chinese art gradually building among the country’s middle- and upper-middle classes, we’re seeing more fashion houses (Ferragamo, Dior, Chanel, Prada), carmakers (Ferrari), and watchmakers (Titoni, Swatch) working with Chinese artists on special edition collaborations.
The newest partnership between Le Meridien and Yan Lei and Chen Wenbo is somewhat different than previous luxury-art partnerships, however, in that it entails the artists not only providing artwork for the hotelier but also joining its exclusive “LM100” creative community.
As members of LM100, Chen Wenbo will create a series destined for “high impact areas” (such as hotel entrances) worldwide as a part of Le Meridien’s Arrival Experience, which immerses visitors in sights and sounds created by LM100 members, while Yan Lei will provide artwork for Le Meridien’s UNLOCK ART program, which will also become a part of the chain’s limited-edition art collection.
The UNLOCK ART program, which presents typically mundane hotel key cards as pieces of limited-edition artwork, is notable in that it “unlocks” complimentary entry to local contemporary cultural centers. Partners in the UNLOCK ART program include MOCA in Shanghai, Le Palais de Tokyo in Paris, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and The Tate Galleries in London. Previous key card designers in this series include Michael Lin, Sam Samore and Hisham Bharoocha.
According to Global Brand Leader Eva Ziegler, Le Meridien is hoping to become a hub for the “creative and curious hotel guest as well as the local community,” and with the addition of Yan Lei and Chen Wenbo to LM100, “Le Meridien is recognizing the importance of China in the art world today.”
Including Yan and Chen, since its founding in 2007 the LM100 community has invited 22 members from a range of backgrounds, from the performing and visual arts to the culinary world and luxury industry. Le Meridien currently operates 7 hotels in China (including Hong Kong), with two new properties in Zhengzhou and Xi’an slated to open in 2012 and 2013, respectively.