Le Méridien prepares for re-launch

In an extraordinary installation of light and art, San Francisco has hosted the worldwide relaunch of Le Méridien following the November 2005 acquisition of Le Méridien by Starwood.The internationally acclaimed lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus re-imagined Le Méridien San Francisco, located at 333 Battery Street, into a tower of Mondrian-inspired light and color. The installation transformed the 24-story building into an ever-changing piece of contemporary art designed so that each guest becomes a contributor. It was unveiled on November 1, 2006 and remain until January 31, 2007.
Thierry Dreyfus’ alliance was conceived of by Jér™me Sans, who was recently appointed Cultural Curator for Le Méridien. Jér™me Sans, an internationally renowned curator and founder of Paris’ acclaimed Palais de Tokyo museum, is directing the artistic restaging of the European-influenced brand by forging partnerships for Le Méridien with contemporary artists and art institutions worldwide.

Le Méridien San Francisco’s First Night celebrations and Thierry Dreyfus’ interactive installation will become a signature celebration for the opening of new Le Méridien hotels throughout North America and around the world. First Night in San Francisco marks the beginning of a series of global artist events for Le Méridien openings. First Night San Francisco will be followed by Shanghai (December 1, 2006) and Split, Croatia (April 2007).

“We are proud to work with artists of this caliber to revitalize Le Méridien. Through their contributions we will stimulate our guests’ passion by providing cultural experiences and engage them by playing an active role in the creation art. To do so in a culturally rich city like San Francisco makes this event even more remarkable,” said Eva Ziegler, senior vice president, Le Méridien. “The sister-city relationship between San Francisco and Paris further distinguishes the aptness of bringing this high-end European lifestyle brand to one of the most European of American cities.”

Thierry Dreyfus gained fame in the late 1980s for his groundbreaking work with the Strasbourg Opera He created world headlines in 2005 when he won an international competition to create the artistic design for the highly-anticipated re-opening of Paris’ Grand Palais, a celebration that attracted 50,000 visitors to experience Thierry Dreyfus’ strikingly innovative lighting of the building’s magnificent glass and steel copula. He is also the lighting designer of choice for France’s fashion elite, from Yves Saint Laurent and Helmut Lang to Calvin Klein and Miguel Androver.

Jér™me Sans, who has gained an international following for his work as a curator (Baltic in Newcastle/Gateshead), teacher (Central St. Martins; Milwaukee Institute of Visual Arts), author, journalist, musician, and arts provocateur, said, “Since we are starting a new era of Le Méridien history, I invited Thierry Dreyfus to reactivate the building, to put new life into it with a light installation and to create a scenario for the people in the building - a new physical and visual experience. Thierry is one of the leading artists dealing with light in various living environments and he was the right person to develop this first project in San Francisco and afterwards for other Le Méridien hotels worldwide.”

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As part of the brand’s ongoing pursuit to bring art and culture alive in a new light for guests and host cities alike, Le Méridien has formed an alliance with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). The partnership will offer Le Méridien guests special access to YBCA as part of their stay and the opportunity to experience art in the hotel with an installation in an on-site gallery by New York based artist Hisham Bharoocha, currently exhibiting at the YBCA.

Synonymous worldwide with style, originality, and a passion for art, architecture, food, fashion, music and film since its founding in Paris in 1972, Le Méridien has come to represent the “art” of hospitality throughout the world, known as much for its elegance, finesse and panache as for its well-trained staff and commitment to providing guests with a new way of seeing the individuality of each of its locales.

Le Méridien brand, currently represented by more than 120 properties in 52 countries, was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in November 2005. With close to 70 percent of its properties located in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Le Méridien provides a strong international complement to Starwood’s primarily North American holdings. Plans call for dynamic expansion of Le Méridien-branded hotels within the next five years, concentrating in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, including destinations such as India, Thailand and China.

“Le Méridien is a perfect complement to the Starwood portfolio, with its international footprint and European-focused customer base,” said Eva Ziegler. “Le Méridien represents a great growth opportunity for Starwood, and further underscores Starwood’s position as one of the leading international consumer lifestyle hotel and leisure companies.”
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