Art isn’t always obvious. Sometimes it’s a metaphor splashed in white on a white canvas. Sometimes it’s a totem slowly discovered inside a cedar log as each layer of wood is chiseled away. Sometimes it’s a bed on the side of a mountain in Switzerland.
For the better part of a decade, twin concept artists Frank and Patrik Riklin have been devoting their artistic acumen to the Null Stern (zero star) Hotel project. They started by putting beds in a nuclear fall out shelter near St. Gallen, Switzerland in 2008. They’ve moved on to phase two of their art — a hotel that comprises of a queen bed on the side of a mountain. It has zero stars, in case you’re wondering.
The original idea of housing guests in a fall out shelter sprung from one part political posturing, one part wanting to annoy luxury hotels, and one part pure artistic endeavor. Patrik Riklin exclaims that they were “making a statement of the antithesis of the megalomania of this time. The zero means freedom from the absurdity of the star system and questions the idea of luxury.” The star rating system for hotels worldwide evidently threatened to sue the brothers. But nothing came of it besides the novelty of some tourists staying in a Swiss fall out shelter with no amenities.
The brothers have kept their original slogan from their first foray into being hoteliers: “Null Stern — The Only Star Is You!” This month, the duo opened their new installation. This time it is less about sticking it to the (hotel) man and more about luxury and fantasy. The hotel has already sold out for the whole summer.
Each patron is provided with a queen bed, breakfast provided by a local farmer in a tuxedo and work boots, and a bathroom a ten-minute walk away at the local eatery. All for the price of $260 a night. Patrick notes “the mountains are the imaginary building of the new Null Stern. It looks like a fantasy, but it’s a serious statement – a fantasy you can sleep in.”
Counterpoint: imaginary buildings are all fine and good until it starts to rain.
(Via The Guardian)