Set in its own 23-acre private park right in the heart of downtown Seoul, The Shilla Seoul is already known for its impressive outdoor ‘Sculpture Garden’ the first of its kind in Korea and which features 70 large stone sculptures by 40 leading Korean artists which line the leafy walking and jogging paths that weave their way through wooded parkland and landscaped gardens.
Now the Shilla’s “gallery” is extending indoors, housing a vast collection of around 2,000 paintings, drawings, pottery and sculptures complementing its upgrade as a ‘lifestyle destination’.
Guests are intrigued from the moment they arrive in the lobby, to be greeted by an eye-catching sculpture of thousands of clear acryl beads in the shape of an elongated diamond hanging fluidly from the ceiling.
Entitled ‘An Aggregate’, it was created by the renowned Korean artist Sun Ghi Bahk, and won the prestigious Jong Yong Kim Sculpture Award in 2006. Bahk says the beaded sculpture, reminiscent of Christmas decorations in a calm mist, “symbolises space and life”.
The lobby also showcases pieces by the famous kinetic artist Rafael Soto, Tony Delap, famed for his ‘Museum of Modern Arts’ work now on exhibit at The New York Modern Art Museum, and Chang Sup Jung.
The “gallery” extends to The Shilla’s newly upgraded restaurants. International all-day dining venue The Parkview features eight works by the famous American pop artists Tom Wesselmann and Bill Thompson, complementing new interior design by Peter Remedios, renowned for his styling of Four Seasons, New York and Grand Hyatt, Tokyo.
Multi award-winning Chinese restaurant Palsun features a specifically commissioned collection of complementary western and eastern art, including works by celebrated Korean artist Sae Ok Seo, the potter Young Sook Park, and famous Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida.
The VIP room and Library bar on the 1st floor showcase renowned abstract artists including Picasso.
On the 23rd floor, complementing majestic views over the city, are works by the French artist Armand, while the expansive Banquet Hall and Conference Centre, the largest in the city, exhibit prestigious works by Salvador Dali, Picasso, Antonia Pierre and the Korean artist Ki Chang Kim.
No surprise, perhaps, that this thought-provoking collection of eclectic art has earned The Shilla an appropriate new nickname in artistic circles—commonly known as ‘The Gallery Hotel’.
The Shilla Jeju, sister hotel to The Shilla Seoul and similarly a member of the prestigious The Leading Hotels of the World, also houses an outstanding collection of world class contemporary art by artists such as Salvador Dali – his original ‘Space Venus’ is on display in the hotel’s striking white marble lobby. Other noteworthy works are housed throughout the hotel’s public areas and within its presidential suites, which have over the years welcomed many of the world’s leading dignitaries including Bill Clinton etc,.
The Shilla Hotels are part of the Korean electronics giant the Samsung Group which also owns and operates the renowned Leeum gallery in Seoul.