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The Power of the Written Word in Design

With our many forms of communication, language is the primary one and it can be conveyed through speech, sign or writing. Here at our Design Studio visual art is our main form of expression, but we also celebrate the written word. Join us as we explore some examples of how we’ve incorporated the power of words through art and design.

A perfect interlock between art and words is presented in the lobby at Crosby Street Hotel. Here you will find ‘White Head’, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa. This striking art piece has letters which connect together to present the alphabet and cumulate into a 10 foot sculpture of a human head. The alphabet is a representation of different cultures. We think Plensa’s sculpture feels at home here, welcoming guests from all corners of the world.

Inspired by Jaume Plensa, we brought the playful spirit of his sculpture to The Croc Bowling Alley at Ham Yard Hotel. On the wall adjacent to our maple floored bowling lanes, we have strung together mirrored letters of the alphabet, creating a large composition in an organic but organised way. The mirrored letters are connected but not fixed and gently, they move to create a sense of energy in this buzzy event space.

We are true fans of ceramicist Martha Freud’s work and we have celebrated her talent through many of our projects. Her signature, personalised porcelain tea light holders bring an extra layer of personality and character to any wall. Here in The Potting Shed at Dorset Square Hotel, her ceramic pots come with a surprise! At different times, they light up and reveal phrases related to Dorset Square’s cricketing past – this installation tells a rich story.

Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing and incorporating it into a scheme can add a layer of expression. On the seventh floor at Bergdorf Goodman, New York, we have our very own shop. Here we have hung Kit Kemp style letters from the alphabet. We created a unique scene for each of the letters with an emphasis on colour.

This artwork of Haymarket on a winter’s day was painted at Haymarket Hotel by Kurt Jackson. Annotating the biodiversity that Jackson discovered near the hotel, is a surrounding collage of mixed media works. They would not have had the same personal touch without the artist’s handwritten notes. Discover more about Kurt Jackson and his Biodiversity works here.

Katherine Cuthbert’s bold ceramic pots can be found around many of our hotels including here in the lobby at Crosby Street Hotel. The different shapes and sizes are such fun to arrange in an interesting way. Your eyes are often drawn to handwritten notes on the pieces such as ‘fragile’, ‘this way up’ and ‘cut here’. In a playful way, this reminds us of the handmade nature of Cuthbert’s work.

You can also bring the power of words to the dining table! Elegant and ready for any occasion, our embroidered Initial Linen Napkins will bring a personalised touch to your tablescape.

We hope these examples have proven the power of the written word. There’s an exciting new project that we’re working on where we have incorporated many quirky, uplifting and sentimental words into our designs. We can’t wait to share this with you! To be the first to hear about our new designs, subscribe to Kit Kemp’s Design Thread monthly newsletter here.

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