Jeff Koon’s huge West Highland terrier, “Puppy” welcomes visitors to the entrance to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Opposite, a facetted façade which catches reflections of the Puppy and the Guggenheim gives little hint of the artistic interior inside, designed to reflect 20th century design in acknowledgement of its location opposite the Guggenheim and near the Fine Art Museum. Inside, another huge sculpture, a modern obelisk, rises up through the curved light-filled atrium of the Silken Gran Hotel Domine. “Ciprés Fósil” (Fossil Cypress), double the height of “Puppy, is a 26m (78ft) high column of stones with messages and inscriptions from clients, created by Javier Mariscal provides a bold artistic centrepiece to the hotel of 145 bedrooms and suites arranged around the central atrium and curved staircase.
Designed by Spanish designers Javier Mariscal and Fernando Salas, the intention was to provide references to 20th century design throughout the hotel and reinforce Bilbao’s international cultural reputation, with Mariscal’s work including the uniforms, the furniture, the bold graphics, artworks and the website.
The result is an artistic destination in itself, a place to visit even if not staying, enjoying the spaces, the bars and the rooftop terrace with views across to the Guggenheim Museum.