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Gormley sits giant metal man on London hotel

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Anthony Gormley has made his mark on London’s hotel scene by erecting a huge, inhabitable sculpture which doubles up as a hotel suite

Titled ROOM, the three-storey high stainless steel sculpture takes the form of a cubic giant sat on his haunches on top of the corner entrance of the new Beaumont Hotel in Mayfair.

The idea for the scuplture originated when developers Corbin and King decided to incorporate an art element into the fabric of the new hotel. The yet-to-complete wider scheme is being drawn up by ReardonSmith Architects.

Gormley is known for his sculptures of the human form and the new addition to the Beaumont Hotel is similar in style to the artist’s Habitat project in Anchorage, Alaska - a house-sized sculpture of a crouching man made from 57 welded stainless steel blocks.

The artist said: ‘It is a development of habitat in Anchorage and where the habitat is more like a hut, this more like a house. It is around three metres higher than the Habitat project, which I had originally planned to show what constitutes a human habitat in world where more than 50 per cent of humans live within a city grid of one form or another.

‘ROOM is a concept where the human body of bones and skin and muscle are replaced by walls and floors, can we use the language of masonry to investigate the body as a place of dwelling and as the first place that life grows?

‘The challenge with the Beaumont was not to make something which would be a towering monument, but a hidden thing, something which remains a secret until you find it, and know there are people sleeping in the belly of a tin man who lives on the second floor of a hotel.’

ROOM measures barely 4 metres square, but is ten metres high, with the bedroom suite interior encased in fumed oak. Visitors to the Beaumont can sleep within the carcass of the new sculpture while the dressing room, lounge and dining areas of the suite are located within the main hotel building.

The interior of the room has been designed to have subliminal levels of light provided by small openings in the knees, elbows and head of the sculpture. According to Gormley it takes around four minutes to acclimatise to the darkness.

Westminster Council received a planning application which included erection of the sculpture in January, and was approved in April. The Beaumont Hotel is the first new five-star hotel to be opened in Mayfair in a decade and is set to open in autumn 2014.


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