If you're hankering to see art and can't rustle up a museum cover charge, you can see some for free at The Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West, whose walls boast a collection of original works.
The Renaissance is the 15-story hotel recently opened by Sam Moon Group, of the eponymous handbag and accessories empire, who wanted the design to reflect the family's Asian culture while also honoring their second-generation Texas roots.
The "West-meets-Zen" theme can be seen and felt throughout. There is art made from used computer floppy disks. Iron sculpture that — when one stands back — forms the impression of a 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser. Branding irons hang from the ceiling of the Whiskey Moon bar. Restaurant tables are carved to look like blades of an Asian fan. Cowhide and leather covered furnishings and cowboy hats hang in every room.
The Moon family was resolute that the design demonstrate sensibility to Asian culture, as well as follow the Renaissance tradition of focusing on local and regional culture. The Moon family sought to honor their Korean roots while extending hospitality to international guests traveling on business to the multinational corporations headquartered within the Legacy West corridor such as Toyota.
Hospitality design firm Looney & Associates worked with art consultants Faulkner+Locke, INDIEWALLS, and Kalisher to cultivate the collection. It includes multiple mediums such as textile, sculpture, digital, paintings, plaster, works on paper, and even video. It can be seen throughout the public areas, from the reception desk to the lounges to the grand stairway and function areas.
Upon arrival, a glass-sheathed 15-story tower stands at the entrance of Windrose Ave., the central boulevard and pedestrian walkway of Legacy West. The hotel was designed with wide-open interior spaces and broad sight lines to embody the indigenous elements of the Texas prairie.
A horizontal glass installation by photographer Aaron Koblin, behind the reception area, measuring 10.6 feet by 25.6 feet, appears as a web of chalky lightning strikes emanating from a nucleus. Closer inspection reveals it to be airplane flight patterns to and from DFW International Airport.
A herd of 18 hand-sculpted longhorn skulls made of molded resin by Cherrylion Studios mark the landing of the grand stairway leading from the lobby to the mezzanine level and reflect the fusion of two cultures by fabricating the classic Texas longhorn steer with the delicate Japanese art of origami.
Artist Gilbane Peck is responsible for the installation of re-purposed computer floppy discs that form a pair of canvases of two female figures in traditional clothing, one Asian with fan, the other a Texas cowgirl. The two paintings of women in traditional cultural garb, executed on computer floppy discs, are in homage to the high-tech companies within the Legacy West development and part of Dallas' history as a city where one of the original integrated circuits was invented and its continued center for high-tech manufacturing.
A double-height lenticular of a 7th-century Asian ceramic horse and a western saddle horse stands as a sentinel at the top of the grand staircase on the mezzanine level outside the grand ballroom. The artist is Building 4 Fabrications and photographer Jenny Gummersall.
Hotel general manager Bob Bula says in a release that they've witnessed the art's lure on hotel guests and Legacy Park West visitors. "Our lounge and Whiskey Moon Lobby Bar have become a central meeting spot and local watering hole," he says, calling the art collection "a provocative backdrop."
The cultural fusion continues in the hotel's restaurants. Bold Texas flavors combine with Asian fare at the Whiskey Moon bar, at Texas Tea House in the lobby, and at Oma, the hotel's main three-meal restaurant located on the ground floor.