Rosewood Phuket Curates a Journey of Nature, Culture and Discovery through Art
November 20, 2017
Rosewood Phuket offers guests a uniquely Thai vision of the brand’s A Sense of Place® philosophy, with an art collection that weaves quintessential Siam sensibilities and landscapes into interior and outdoor spaces for a visual voyage of discovery.
“Rosewood Phuket’s art collection celebrates Thai culture and natural beauty in all its exquisite variety, inspiring a sense of experiencing life as a living canvas,” says Andrew Turner, the resort’s managing director. “It is as if, through art, visitors to Emerald Bay are exploring a fascinating lost land in a lush tropical jungle facing the sea.”
“Phuket is a hub of cultural influences and this diversity is showcased through the resort’s multi-media artworks, focusing on the evolution of old crafts so that traditional principles are elevated into artistic statements,” says Pier Djerejian-Shiever, Rosewood Phuket’s art consultant and director of Hong Kong-based The Changing Room.
The journey commences with the majestic elephant sculpture at the porte cochere by Thai sculptor Phuth Manthra, honoring the powerful yet peaceful prominence of elephants throughout Thai history. Flanking the entrance is a pair of 2.5-meter open-weave bamboo bonsai sculptures made by Korakot Aromdee. This Thai sculptor is renowned for his use of natural materials and Thai crafting techniques – he was awarded the eco-sustainable design prize at the 2016 Maison Objet in Paris -- and these pieces symbolize the self-sustainable design elements and environmental preservation initiatives prevalent at Rosewood Phuket.
A large brass elephant bell in the reception area is the first of many to be discovered throughout the resort. The bell design is an ancient one from India, where bells adorn elephants and signal pedestrians of the pachyderms’ passage through festivals and religious ceremonies.
At Ta Khai, the resort’s rustic Thai restaurant, a water buffalo sculpture is set amidst the kitchen garden, just as though it is casually lumbering through a typical Southeast Asia landscape -- but this is a buffalo constructed from car parts which over time will become red like the earth and assume the color of the laterite stones that appear in much of the region’s ancient architecture. The contemporary piece feels surprisingly at home next to the weathered timber structures of the restaurant.
In Mai, the chic poolside lounge bar, a feature piece is the artwork in the form of a bull, roughly hewn from teak, carved by artisans in north Thailand, decorated with statement bronze horns and embellished with beading from Afghanistan. “Secret” quotes by poets are painted along the bar’s mosaic wall and only become visible at night when a black light shines on them – these surprise communiqués are akin to worshipers’ messages that are carved on trees and etched into plant leaves near temples.
Art in the guest pavilions and villas is curated with a residential mindset, combining mixed media, similar to that typical of a fine home collection. Large fine art prints by New Yorker Alexandra Chermayeff are calligraphic in style with a buoyancy and lightness of color. Smaller works and objets include photographs by Stephanie Pommez, fine art prints by Mindy Dubin and watercolors by Louise van Terheijden, as well as vintage postcards, woodcut book etchings and original Thai labels.
The resort’s Ocean House villa features Thai tribal textiles and jewelry, paintings by Thai abstractionist Peerapon Sripakananon and the “Neptune” photographic print by artist Martin Cribbs. Each of the handmade sculptures of water buffaloes made by a Thai ceramicist is unique. Rice, which plays an important role in Thai culture, is referenced by the wall sculptures made from original rice sickles that pay homage to objet trouvé, or art created from readymade objects.
At Asaya, the resort’s holistic wellness center, the connection to nature is emphasized through stone sculptures that are abstracted organic forms, calming and meditative, while granite and brass sculptures atop plinths in the outdoor relaxation areas represent the phases of the moon. An osmanthus blossom painting by Thai watercolorist Phummiwat Rattanapadit, whose work is inspired by plant life native to Thailand, projects an ambience of relaxation, serenity and beauty.
In The Pavilion, Rosewood Phuket’s residential-style events and wedding space, the anemone image carved into the wall reminds viewers of the proximity of the sea and humans’ diminutive size in relation to Mother Nature. This artwork comes from the New York-based artist Mindy Dubin, whose fine art prints can be also be found in the resort villas. Phummiwat Rattanapadit’s “tree of life” paintings feature the pine tree, bringing the adjacent Thai coastline indoors.
At the far edge of The Garden & Beach lawn is an enormous compass disc inlaid into the earth which demarcates the beach from the green and communicates a literal sense of place and where passersby are situated in relation to the cosmos.
Animal and sea life wall murals playfully decorate the Rosewood Explorers Club for children and were painted by Thai graffiti artist Anurak Uamdhumma (“Tobby.”) He also created the Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) graffiti mural in the Fitness Center, celebrating a unique, albeit pugilistic, Thai cultural tradition.
In the Retail Gallery, the three-meter handmade wall hanging was crafted by Australian weaver and textile artist Natalie Miller while Thai artist Aninta Boonnontok created the detailed floral painting, whose many layers of color and depth draw upon the techniques and style of Benjarong porcelain painting which originated in Thailand.
Aninta’s painting of an abstract detail of a peacock is displayed in the Events Gallery; in Thailand, the peacock is a symbol of guardianship of royalty, immortality, joy and creativity. The painting appears along with a hand-tinted Loi Kratong photograph in the same gallery. This photograph depicts Khom Loi, or Lanna-style lanterns, which gracefully float into the sky during the annual lunar new year festival, releasing the sender’s cares and worries into the universe.
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About Rosewood Phuket
The 71-room Rosewood Phuket is situated along a 600-meter secluded beachfront at Emerald Bay, and marks the first Southeast Asia resort for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®. Four dining choices include authentic Thai dishes at Ta Khai, Italian cuisine at Red Sauce, simply prepared seafood at The Shack and a chic poolside lounge ambiance at Mai. The first Asaya, Rosewood's holistic wellness concept, debuts at the resort, featuring bespoke programs of alternative therapies, lifestyle coaching, fitness activities and specialized healing treatments. Recreation options include a fitness center, Rosewood Explorers children’s facility and beachside infinity pool. The Pavilion residential-style wedding and events space incorporates the 243-square-meter Glass House, Courtyard, Garden and Beach Lawn.
For more information: rosewoodhotels.com/phuket
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About Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® manages 21 one-of-a-kind luxury properties in 12 countries, with 17 new hotels under development. Each Rosewood hotel embraces the brand’s A Sense of Place® philosophy to reflect the individual location’s history, culture and sensibilities. The Rosewood collection includes some of the world’s most legendary hotels and resorts, including The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris, as well as new classics such as Rosewood Beijing.
For more information: rosewoodhotels.com
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