Swatch hotel merges retail, art, leisure
On Shanghai’s famous riverside boulevard, The Bund, stands a unique concept where Swiss watchmaker Swatch has merged retail, art, hotel and dining in an immersive brand experience.
Housed in a historic building, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel is home to artists who live and work there – and there are seven themed suites for paying guests, a rooftop terrace and a restaurant Shook! operated by Singapore-based YTL Hotels.
On the ground floor fronting the street are boutiques for some of Swatch Group’s best known brands Breguet, Blancpain, Omega and Swatch.
Visitors access the ground-floor boutiques through the hotel’s impressive entrance and the lobby. The design of the brand boutiques is consistent with the period décor and cultural ambience of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel. New furnishings have been carefully selected to blend with the existing fittings, maintaining a conscious link with the building’s heritage.
The artist residency on the second and third floor of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel comprises 18 studios and hosts international artists from different forms of art.
Under the unique concept of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, gifted artists from around the world, including China, are invited to Shanghai to live and work in studios in the Hotel. Artists who are chosen by the Selection Committee to participate in the artist residency program of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel will experience the vibrant life of the unique artistic and cultural environment.
The concept behind the project, ‘Faces and Traces’, is to enrich the retail and commercial environment of the hotel space with the creativity of the artists and their work. More than 139 artists have passed through the building since it opened, who have now left their own ‘traces’ on the building.
After three years in the making, Swatch is now actively marketing to consumers – most notably through a large pop-up information display at Grand Gateway Plaza shopping centre.
According to Swatch International’s Creative Director Carlo Giordenetti, the project is comprised of 4 “C”s: creativity, connection, community, and challenge. He says by using the artist’s creativity, the program connects their personalities and work into a community that thrives off the challenges of working in a foreign place, working with new people, and still creating great work.
Creativity has always been an integral part of the Swatch brand: the standout point of difference of its watches has been its wide variety of colourful creative designs which have made them collectables around the world.
“This connection with art has been, since the very beginning, a real part of the DNA of the brand. And spontaneously, I think, you want to give back at a certain point, and this is a great way to give back.”
The fourth floor of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel hosts three large exclusive themed suites, a medium-sized suite and three rooms for its special guests, offering an exclusive opportunity to experience an artistic environment unlike any other.