Magdalen Chapter Hotel, Exeter
Wednesday 24 Apr 2013


Magdalen Chapter Hotel, Exeter, UK By FCB Studios

Swire Hotels have launched a new brand in the UK, Chapter Hotels, which operate contemporary hotels of the highest quality, specifi­c to their locations and surroundings. Housed in the 19th century former West England Eye Hospital, this luxury 59 bedroom hotel is reflective of the skills and passions of the architects, artists and artisans who have collaborated in its creation.

Based in London, Kate Sweeney has over 18 years experience in the art world and specialises in the area of contemporary and modern art. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from Rosemont College in Philadelphia and the Art Institute of Philadelphia, as well as completing postgraduate courses in Arts Administration at New York University and Art History at Sotheby’s Institute in London.

In 2005, Kate founded Perspective, where she continues to lead numerous collaborative efforts with international artists, architects, councils, developers and occupiers of buildings to integrate art within schemes around the world.

A multitude of projects involve the commissioning and management of fine art collections in corporate, private, institutional, retail, leisure and healthcare developments. Recent clients include British Land, Derwent London, Endo Heath Solutions, Freshwater Group of Companies, Harvard Medical School Dubai Center, Legal & General, Qatar Foundation and Swire Hotels.

Mindful of Chapter Hotel’s support of locally inspired aesthetics, the search for an intriguingly diverse collection was launched to celebrate a taste of British culture in the arts. Fascinating discoveries ensued and the artworks throughout the hotel were carefully selected to engage each visitor whilst providing a platform for thoughtful appreciation and reflective conversation. This collection is a body of work in distinctive and curious mediums, stepping outside traditional methods and encompassing a variety of styles and materials - a compendium that includes collage, glass, light, maps, paper, rare books and wood.

The interior of the hotel is powered with subtle surprises, its walls and niches adorned by creatively probing pieces throughout, many site speci­c, such as the delicately hand ­finished mural with accents of copper leaf stretching the length of an entire wall. With each creation, worthy of a moment to discover its hidden wealth, these works combine edginess with elegance, modesty with ambition and seriousness with humour in a delightfully eclectic way. From the outset, an exploration of site speci­c commissions was initiated with works that captured or portrayed historical signifi­cance in relation to both the building and the surrounding landscape. Close collaboration with the selected artists cultivated a dialogue with continuously refreshing responses.

Just as the architecture blends contemporary design with period features, the artwork aims to nurture historical traces in a modern and innovative manner. These works form not only an integral part of the building, but also provide a vital connection between the overall hotel experience and its Devon location.

In essence, the collection characterises three speci­c and distinctive flavours - a taste of yesterday with hints of Victorian elegance and period charm, an experience of today with the contemporary air and passion in the commissioned works, and a glimpse of tomorrow with the vision and individuality each artist has shown in the development of their ideas and methods of interpretation.

Kate is on the jury of World Interiors News Awards 2013

FCB Studios