Adding colour to the chandeliers – Glass visits Le Bristol, Paris

THE relationship between art and hotels has long been a difficult one – fraught with hotels garnishing their walls with a last-minute thought of bulk-bought art and subsequently falling at the last hurdle. In this instance, guests affections are won or lost in an instant – or instantly if you are very sensitive to the look and feel of where you stay. Even though buying furniture and art together en masse has for all too long been acceptable, times are certainly changing and art has become an interesting tool in, quite honestly, making travel more interesting. The devil is certainly in the detail in these locations we temporarily call home.

Le Bristol has been Paris’s most luxurious retreat since 1925. The bolthole in the heart of the French capital’s art and fashion centre has weathered the trends (and the second world war) and easily managed to dance the difficult line between five-star luxury, classic style and while remaining current. For the last three years and kept almost as a secret, Le Bristol has teamed up with Galerie Kamel Mennour – that represents Anish Kapoor, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Martin Parr and one of France’s highly regarded head modernist artists who we’re concerned with here, Daniel Buren – to present exclusive works of art to the hotel’s famed Jardin Français.

Ordinarily guests enjoy afternoon tea, cocktails and casual lunch and dinners here among the manicured greenery but for the last three years the experience has been elevated by works of Ai Wei Wei and Anish Kapoor sitting among the topiary. This summer a site-specific piece was created by Daniel Buren for Le Bristol.


Le Bristol ParisEpicure at Le Bristol, Paris

This years’ installment and with a prominent nod to his colourful gels currently adorning the Frank Gehry designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, Daniel Buren has created a rainbow-hued glass and white metal pergola. It sits gently within and reacts with the space around it – think of a traditional walkway with a translucent roof on which alphabetically arranged coloured panels defuse the light. On first looks (and most likely unless told) the alphabetical arrangement is missed by the eye but colours are bolder with more prominent use of orange and yellow than the more primary focused arrangement at its sister at the Fondation Louis Vuitton.


Le Bristol ParisThe site-specific pergola designed by Daniel Buren for Le Bristol


Glass stayed during July – the exhibition opened in synchronicity to L’Observatoire de la Lumière Fondation Louis Vuitton – and the pergola will remain in situ until this October (2016). The sunlight was bright – perfect conditions for the pavilion and our suite room overlooked the courtyard garden with the spectrum of colour shining below in stark contract to the white limestone brick of the hotel. Daniel Buren or any of his modernist contemporaries could feel out of place in this upholder of classic luxury, even edging towards a nepotistic introduction but this structure sits comfortably in its surroundings bringing a playful edge to this Parisian institute of lavish style.

Our late morning breakfast in Epicure was illuminated by the pergola as the sun started to brim over the sides of the hotel – if anything can add to a triple Michelin-starred restaurant, colour and fun certainly elevate the experience. A minimalist-yet-colourful structure by definition shouldn’t work with a traditional Toile de Jouy interior, but it does and shows a daring side to the celebrity of a five star hotel that is relatively new to modern art. Well three years new.


Le Bristol ParisA junior suite at Le Bristol, Paris

Whether guests were impressed or even noticed the installation was hard to tell, but perhaps that isn’t the intention and in many ways that brings beauty to how Le Bristol keeps the yearly art installation a low-key affair. Hopefully this becomes a long-standing tradition with the Oetker family and Kamel Mennour and we’ll wait with bated breath for what next year has to offer and how hotels overall will look upon this as a step up!

by Stephanie Clair.

Daniel Buren’s pergola will be on display in Jardin Français until October 6, 2016 and is rumoured to be on sale afterwards.

Le Bristol, 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, 75008, France 33 1-53-43-43-00

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