Rising from the ashes of the pandemic’s home stay fatigue, the Hyatt Place London City East debuted on the hotel market in June this year. It marks the brand’s third across the Capital. Succinctly marrying the suave class of the City with the artistic flare of East London and true to their aphorism and locale, ‘where the City meets the East’, Hyatt Place’s most recent kid on the block is an ode to our city’s superb organic diversity. Nestled just a stone’s throw away from what is arguably London’s most cultural cornucopia – the world famous Brick Lane – the hotel is infused with the same rich creative history that permeates its surroundings.
Hyatt Place’s interior design mirrors the vibrancy of its cosmopolitan backdrop. Peppered amongst its inviting yet sleek furnishings is an energetic celebration of street art – a testament to General Manager Michael Mason-Shaw’s ardour for candid art and artistic sentiment. His vision means that Hyatt Place nods to these influences both explicitly and discreetly at every opportunity, and its creative tendency is by no means limited to visuals alone. While speaking with two of the hotel’s installation artists Jay Kaes and Lothar Götz, we were treated to an exquisite array of drinkable art: creatively inspired signature cocktails in Hyatt Place’s brand new rooftop bar PocketSquare (more on this later).
In Hyatt Place’s lower ground lobby, guests are greeted by an explosion of vivid colour: an installation wall piece by Spanish-born street artist Jay Kaes. As with all details of the hotel’s milieu, this work oozes a ubiquitous sensitivity that speaks to the hotel’s intuitive connection to its urban creative landscape: the painting aptly interprets the London Underground. Guests to the space are compelled to engage in a playful conversation with Jay’s piece, encouraged to take part thanks to his pledge to make walls that talk.
This work oozes a ubiquitous sensitivity that speaks to the hotel’s intuitive connection to its urban creative landscape
For Jay, painting is about making your mark in society. With mural installations in Greece, Miami, Naples, LA, Hong Kong, London, and many more across the globe, there is no question that Jay does just that – it’s evident he is inspired by the location. Having studied Fine Art at Basque Country University and finally settling in London nine years ago, Jay’s art has taken him all over the world. As such, he is the ideal artist to voice PocketSquare’s ethos – for their brand, Jay communicates this very same emphasis on positive international dialogue.
Sat nine storeys high with the glow of the Canary Wharf skyline opposite, Hyatt Place’s new rooftop bar is the real deal. With an uninterrupted view of the dramatic cityscape, you can sample from PocketSquare’s signature cocktail list, which is expertly curated by the well seasoned mixologists and bar team. Each with its own cultural inspiration, the drinks menu is yet another tasteful example of Hyatt Place’s love for artistry. While fittingly sipping on ‘Anonymous’ – a delectable cocktail that pays homage to Banksy’s female counterpart Bambi – we turn our attention to Jay’s exclusive PocketSquare art piece that adorns their drinks menu. Illustrating an expressive conversation between personifications of the City and East London, the scene encompasses all the locale’s verve and demonstrates the hotel’s love affair with the arts – all while staying unquestionably true to Jay’s distinct style.
The panel depicts a sophisticated tapestry of the area’s most iconic sights: the Truman Brewery tower is set in the company of reverberating sound; the London city rose makes a contemporary appearance alongside its jasmine flower sister and is juxtaposed by the colourful bricks made famous by the adjacent lane of the same name.
‘I used to be afraid of making mistakes but now I’m proud of them’ – Jay Kaes
Jay explains his self-taught ‘no eraser’ approach to street art and expounds his reconceptualisation of what a mistake is. “It’s all about perception,” he states, “I used to be afraid of making mistakes but now I’m proud of them. Besides,” he caveats, “I don’t like… to attribute norms to something that works without them”. This reframing of errors as opportunities makes absolute sense at the rapid speed and mammoth scale at which Jay works – skills that he has honed as he refined his graffiti medium. As the conversation roams Jay’s incredibly diverse body of work for Hyatt Place and beyond, ranging from A4 prints to double decker sized murals, we are transported around the world. The ease with which the hotel facilitates artistic cosmopolitan escapism is a testament to how seamlessly it harnesses its creative neighbourhood.
Hyatt Place doesn’t just commission artists. The way that they approach and curate their space is imaginative in its own right. To borrow a phrase from German born contemporary abstract artist Lothar Götz, their collaboration meant “begin[ning] with the wall that is there,” and the ingenuity comes after.
The wall in question can be found on the first floor. It measures three metres high and 30 metres long and is viewed from a series of Room[s] With A View. Yet for Lothar, 30 meters does not feel big nor intimidating: “I see a dramatic change when moving from A4 to A1,” notes the mural artist who regularly draws at a smaller scale to reset his mind, “but when on a wall, it is nearly without dimension. I interpret the wall that is there.”
Lothar’s abstract works use a geometric language and bold swatches of colour to foster an immersive physical artistic experience. He explains “there is a physical aspect of colour. There is a moment when you see it with your whole body – you become the colour.” A playful quip on words, the Room[s] With A View invite their guests to challenge their preconceived idea of what a ‘view’ entails. Lothar’s mural does not align with a conventional landscape scene. It does one better by drawing the viewer in, immersing them and denying the compulsion to see a painting as a bounded object. Instead, Lothar’s ‘view’ intrigues the onlooker, engages them, and colourfully alerts them to the idiosyncrasies of perspective.
‘The work is not just the space, there is a mutual influence’ – Lothar Götz
Leaving PocketSquare to view the mural in the wash of the evening light, it is clear that Hyatt Place gravitates towards artists that deliberately make irregularities visible. In the context of Lothar’s large-scale piece, his signature geometric pigment intersections are both serendipitous and highly intentional.
Each room’s window encases a different, fragmented perspective of the installation, yet in every case the colour joints are precisely centred at the middle of the frame. This speaks to Lothar’s belief that with site specific works, “the work is not just the space, there is a mutual influence” – the context absolutely impacts the art. A beautifully poetic element is incorporated as the viewer is invited to manipulate the artwork depending on their particular standpoint. On a metatheatrical level, the way that Lothar’s energetic mural considerately interacts with the Room[s] With A View is the very same way that Hyatt Place meets its East London setting.
Those who choose to stay in the aperture between City and East London recognise the dynamic creative zest that the area holds and continues to nourish. This is the atmosphere that Michael and his team understand so sensitively and is saluted by Jay and Lothar. With their art, the air of East London’s streets is invited in and greets Hyatt Place’s guests at every juncture throughout their stay.
Hyatt Place London City East
Black Lion House, 45 Whitechapel Road, London E1
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