This fictional ‘Hotel de l’Europe’ provides a framework for a series of publications and arts events. The hotel provides a structure that brings people together, allowing for participation by various contributors. Each publication in the series is conceived as a room within the hotel, with content provided by the room’s ‘guest’.
A hotel is a place where numerous lives temporarily intersect. As such it has been used as a narrative device in novels, such as The Hotel by Elizabeth Bowen or Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner, or films, such as Grand Hotel (1932) or Hotel (1967, based on the Arthur Hailey novel). It has also been employed in the work of artists such as Allen Ruppersberg, Seamus Nolan and Sophie Calle. The relationships within hotels are played out in public spaces, such as lobbies and restaurants, in the private spaces of the bedrooms, and service areas such as storerooms and kitchens. The architectural framework provides a means to consider these relationships, and the wider cultural aspects of hospitality, leisure, labour and service.
The project’s title is taken from a now closed hotel in Firminy, Loire. ‘Hotel de l’Europe’ is a name that has been used by numerous hotels across France and further afield, and applied to establishments from simple country inns to five-star hotels. Found in Hamburg, Lisbon, St Petersburg but also in Dakar, Singapore and Aden, the name leaves traces of European colonial expansion. Aside from the theme of hospitality, the specific name of the hotel expands the project to consider broader ideas around migration and the history, identity and role played by Europe in the world. These issues are even more pertinent now in the context of Brexit.