Art House

13 august 2013 / interior / words adele chong images joshua ardaly
Part gallery, part hotel, Indonesia’s Artotel specializes in artful sleepovers with some of the country’s most promising talents.
When one checks into a good hotel, more often than not, the stay also comes with the promise of moderately handsome digs to bed down for the night. Artotel makes good on that and more. Situated in Surabaya, the “art-inspired boutique hotel” features a peppy mix of fine hospitality and artworks by Indonesia’s up and coming talents. Founded by enterprising siblings Erasmus and Christine Radjimin—Boston University graduates with solid backgrounds in hospitality and a keen eye for art—Artotel is already becoming a favorite for those looking to transcend the conventional boutique hotel experience.
Collaborating with Indonesian architect Aaron Purbo and interior designer Tata Wastu Asia, the brother and sister duo, inspired by art’s “age-old ability to transform familiar objects and experiences into something wondrous and fantastic,” aimed to create an environment that could offer a bold artistic twist while promptly responding to the need for modern creature comforts. The finished Artotel certainly reflects these objectives. From the lobby all the way to the simple yet well-appointed guestrooms, one is inundated by the presence of eye-catching creations, giving the impression of spending the night in a gallery.
“The main purpose is to introduce [guests to] Indonesian contemporary art that is fun, dynamic, and conceptual,” says Christine Radjimin. She notes that varying exhibits transform the hotel premises on a regular basis; at the moment, works by Hendra “Hehe” Harsono, Arkiv Vilmansa, Faisal Habibie, Darbotz, and ADR1 are holding court in the lobby thanks to the Radjimins’ impressive art world connections.
“Artotel works with galleries as well as [standalone] artists,” says Radjimin. “Hopefully these collaborations [will expose the art scene] to those who have never encountered contemporary art.” Banking in on Artotel’s success, the Radjimins are boldly expanding their horizons: plans are in the works to launch a sister hotel in Jakarta come November, followed by one in Bali in 2015.
Published in the August/September issue of Surface Asia
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