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Capturing the Sun’s Glow Through Art

Eaton Fine Art (EFA) has brought an elevated art program to The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. The collection at the newly renovated property embraces the meditative cycle of the desert, using contemporary art to reflect the temperature and atmospheric changes of the landscape.

Terry Eaton, president and chief curator of Eaton Fine Art, shares the inspiration behind the curated works with InspireDesign.

What was the impetus for the fine art program at The Phoenician? 

It is the only hotel in the metro Phoenix region to earn five stars from Forbes Travel Guide and five diamonds from AAA, so it was vital that the art program reflected the elite status of the resort and expectations of its guests.

The dynamic art program embodies and reinforces The Phoenician’s upscale and contemporary design narrative with a collection of artwork that plays to the textures and colors of the natural landscape of the Sonoran Desert. An eclectic mix of media from local Arizona and Southwestern-based artists collectively illustrates the diversity of the topography and rich history of the region. Contemporary abstract photography brings an elegance to each of the spaces and balances the more textured pieces and sculptural elements prominently displayed in the public spaces.

Please explain how you created a narrative from the natural environment.

The creative team at Eaton Fine Art researched the culture and style of The Phoenician’s location—both past and present—and used this information, in combination with the textures and patterns of the interiors, to drive our narrative for the artwork. We collaborated with many local artists and sources to curate a program that is refined and elevated, yet approachable. The artwork at The Phoenician reflects the overarching narrative in which the property is deeply rooted, honoring the history of the people and the landscape, while the newly renovated design shows that the resort is positioned strongly in the present and looking forward.

EFA incorporated textural pieces of art that subtly reference the layers of sedimentary rock, the striking forms of succulents or cacti, or the warmth of the desert sunset. Other contemporary pieces allude to the patterns of Native American woven textiles. A gallery-style grouping in the Canyon Suites Lobby includes works by contemporary local artists, paired with an antique large-scale handwoven basket by the Tohono O’odham people, a native tribe of the Sonoran Desert.

Did you find that different parts of the hotel required a different type of art to set a tone? 

For the first phase of the renovation, Eaton Fine Art collaborated with Wimberly Interiors on the guestrooms and suites, including the Canyon Suites, and the Canyon Suites public spaces. For these spaces, the artwork was curated based on the narrative created by Wimberly Interiors, which was rooted in luxury and layered with details that define the destination’s history, location and culture, highlighting the colors and textures of the Sonoran Desert landscape.

For the second phase of the renovation, Eaton Fine Art collaborated with Parker Torres Design and Host Hotels & Resorts on the artwork for the The Phoenician’s main lobby. The curated art program for The Phoenician’s main lobby is inspired by the relationship of day and night in the Sonoran Desert, and the beautiful transitional times between the two periods, including the interplay of light and shadow and warm versus cool. When one thinks of the desert, perhaps what first comes to mind is the warmth of the sun—not only its rays and  heat, but also its restorative effects. As guests enters the main lobby of the resort, the focal piece is a commissioned metal sculpture titled “Solaris,” which is inspired by the concept of turning one’s spirit to the sun for comfort. The stunning, large-scale figurative sculpture greets guests with a striking pose that inspires them to surrender themselves to the glowing beauty of the landscape and all that The Phoenician has to offer.

As guests move across the lobby, the artwork transitions into a moodier feel as the pieces reference nighttime in the desert. Just as the days are warm and vibrant, the nights in the desert are cool and calming. Artwork on the west side of the lobby references deep shadows at sunset, burning embers from a fire on the patio, and the unique landscape. Commissioned sculptures by a local artist flank the entry to the lower lounge. The layered wood pieces reflect the layers of sedimentary rock in the desert outside, while the curves of the forms themselves cast subtle shadows, different at every angle.

What do you hope guests will take away from the experience of this art program?

The art program at The Phoenician and Canyon Suites provides a sense of place and acts as a window into the local culture and history. Eaton Fine Art utilized a variety of mediums, including sculpture, wall art and photography, to reinforce this narrative in a manner that met the elevated standards of The Phoenician and its guests. The collaboration between the client team, Host Hotels & Resorts, interior design teams Parker Torres Design (The Phoenician public spaces/main lobby) and Wimberly Interiors (The Phoenician guest rooms and suites as well as Canyon Suites public spaces and suites) and Eaton Fine Art led to a curated program that enhances and enlivens the guest experience from arrival to departure.