01 Feb 2023 World leisure: news, training & property
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Attractions Management
2021 issue 2

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Leisure Management - The Art of Marvel


The Art of Marvel

As Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel opens at Disneyland Paris, Magali Robathan speaks to Walt Disney Imagineer Caroline May about creating a unique place to stay

Guests can take selfies with Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes at the Super Hero Station Photo: courtesy of Disney
Caroline May, Walt Disney Imagineering Photo: courtesy of Disney
More than 100 artists were commissioned to create original artwork for the hotel Photo: courtesy of Disney
Artist Carlos Gomez made black and white panels for the hotel lobby Photo: Courtesy of Disney
The hotel celebrates New York City’s creativity Photo: courtesy of Disney

After months of closure, Disneyland Paris reopened on 17 June, and just four days later it celebrated the opening of Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel.

Originally due to open last June but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the four-star hotel features 471 Superior Rooms, 65 Empire State Club rooms and 25 Suites dedicated to Spider-Man, The Avengers and other Marvel superheroes. More than 350 pieces of artwork are on display throughout the hotel – including about 50 exclusive pieces – created by more than 110 artists.

The collection of contemporary art includes comic book covers, posters, illustrations from films, storyboards and original sketches showcasing a huge diversity of artistic styles, including classic black and white comics, street art, pop art, hyperrealism, engraved metal and collage art.

The hotel also features a fitness centre, an indoor and outdoor metro pool and a Hero Training Zone – a 420sq m outdoor field with dedicated areas for a variety of sports activities.

Disney cast members bring the hotel to life and children can learn about being a Marvel comic book artist in the Marvel Design Studio. Marvel Photo Stations allows guests to enter exclusive photo locations that immerse them in Marvel movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Ant-Man, The Avengers, Thor, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Here the hotel’s art director tells Attractions Management what makes this hotel so special and why she’s loved working on it.

What can visitors to Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel expect?
This is a unique hotel experience where we celebrate the diversity of art and artists that have created such memorable Marvel stories. The personal highlight for me on this project was being able to call artists that I’ve admired for years and ask them to create exclusive Marvel art for the hotel. What was even better was hearing their reactions and excitement that they would be a part of this project.

What makes it special?
This hotel is special because guests can see how artists from different backgrounds have been inspired by Marvel storytelling through their unique approach to art.

Each generation of artist defines the look of Marvel and influences the next generation. This hotel art collection is a celebration of this idea.

How did you approach this project?
I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and concentrated on art history, so I approached the hotel as an art installation rather than art and objects as decoration. Each artist is inspired by Marvel characters and stories in different ways and I wanted to celebrate their unique point of view and how that defines the ever-evolving quality of Marvel.

The starting point for me was learning about the original artists that created the Marvel comics and how the overall look of the comics has evolved over the last 80 years and beyond.

Was it a fun project to work on?
This has been one of the most fun projects that I’ve worked on at Walt Disney Imagineering. It’s allowed me to combine my background and passion for art in a way I would have never imagined. I also work with an immensely talented team that shares a similar design sensibility.

How did you ensure that the hotel would be appealing for the families of Marvel fans?
It was important to create an experience for our guests that everyone will enjoy whether they know a lot or a little about Marvel. That’s why it was important to look at contemporary artists that are creating art that guests wouldn’t expect of Marvel.

We commissioned more than 100 artists from around the world to create art for the hotel, including about 50 exclusive pieces, so there was something new for everyone. We’ve included rare annotated pin-up pages from the comics, props from the films, photo ops, and even a place to meet Spider-Man.

What were the challenges and highlights of the project?
The biggest challenge was trying to fit all of the inspiring artists and storytellers from Marvel through the years into this hotel.

The highlight was filming Kim Jung Gi drawing a piece of art in the Marvel offices in New York City. The process of him creating the art is the media in the hotel lobby. He has a truly mesmerising process; he’s able to draw completely from memory without any sketches. I was awestruck.

Which part of the project were you most excited about seeing completed?
I guess I am the most excited for the Skyline Bar. Due to COVID, we’ve been working on the media remotely from Los Angeles, London, and Paris but I haven’t seen it in the space.

Guests will feel transported to the top of a luxury high rise bar via a set of ‘panoramic windows’ showing New York’s famous skyline ... with a few Marvel twists.

Artworks on display include...

• French Marvel artist Olivier Coipel, famous for his work on The Avengers, Thor and Spider-Man, created a powerful representation of Thor: God of Thunder in a comic-book style.

• French Marvel artist Stéphanie Hans, featured in Marvel Comics including Asgardians of the Galaxy and Black Bolt created a realistic portrait of Captain Marvel depicted in full flight.

• UK comic book artist Tula Lotay, whose work on Marvel Comics includes Black Widow, Gamora and Scarlet Witch, created a vibrant and strong comic-book style portrait of Black Widow.

• Italian designers and twin brothers Van Orton have created pop art portraits of Hulk, Captain America, Black Panther and Captain Marvel.

• UK artist Liam Brazier, known for his geometric reinterpretations of iconic characters, created several pieces for the hotel, including contemporary portraits of Captain America, Thor and Hulk using saturated and bright colours.

• Spanish artist Carlos Gomez created huge backlit black and white comic panels that will greet guests as they enter the lobby (above).

Originally published in Attractions Management 2021 issue 2

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