Launched earlier this year, Wallpaper* and Pullman Hotels’ Our World = Your Playground artist-in-residence programme is intended as an opportunity for creative people to take time away from their usual environment and obligations, in order to inspire new possibilities in the production and presentation of their work.
In August 2015, competition winner Louisa Gagliardi, a Zurich-based illustrator, ensconced herself for a week in a penthouse suite at the Pullman London St Pancras. Working from all areas of the building, and observing every detail, large and small, she generated a collection of artworks inspired by the Pullman Hotel’s ambiance, furnishings, textures and surroundings.
‘As soon as arrived, I started collecting images of the hotel’s spaces and whatever objects I could find in the various rooms, including the tiny sewing kits, soaps, slippers, bathrobes, keys or room service trays,’ says Louisa. ‘I decided to produce images of these hotel objects, blowing them up on large-scale prints.’
Some items were digitally juxtaposed in unusual settings – a lobster on a dining table, a giant gemstone in a boardroom – creating impactful and imaginative pop art that brings to mind the work of Michael English, Gerald Murphy and Tom Wesselmann.
Gagliardi found the experience of an intense seven days in an enclosed but comfortable foreign environment ‘extremely productive’. ‘The short period of time forces you to only focus on the work,’ she says. ‘Which in my case meant living and breathing the project, actually occupying the space I was depicting.’