After several years of transformation, Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel opened its doors on June 21. Thomas Muller, Scenographer for Walt Disney Imagineering Paris Design & Show Quality, tells us more about his role in opening Disney’s first ever hotel dedicated to Marvel art.
With more than 350 works of art on display in the common areas, Guests at Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel can now experience one of the largest collections of Marvel art available to the public. “We often talk about the number of pieces, but that’s not counting the ones in the guest rooms and suites, making a total of more than 1,500 Marvel-themed decorative elements throughout the hotel,” Thomas explains.
Thomas joined the Walt Disney Imagineering Paris teams in 2018 just before the hotel’s transformation began, becoming familiar with the plans and designs drawn up by Sylvie Massara, Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering Paris Design & Show Quality. In collaboration with his fellow Imagineers in Glendale, California, Thomas was responsible for the development and installation of the hundreds of works of art that make Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel a unique experience, immersing Guests in the atmosphere of a New York City art gallery. “You have to think about it beforehand and know exactly where you are going to put this or that painting. After that, we identify the Super Hero we want to highlight and how the art will look in the environment where it’s displayed. Several artistic trends are represented: realism, comics, pop art and street art. In total, 110 artists specialists in Marvel art have contributed to the realization of the art pieces.
Among the most impressive is the gigantic backlit comic book in the lobby, the heart of the space. Designed by Spanish artist Carlos Gomez, it was conceived in black and white for traditional comic book style, and without text so all visitors can understand it regardless of their nationality.
Also in the lobby, Guests can admire some of the most iconic Marvel Super Heroes, engraved on huge columns. “It took almost fifty hours to engrave one panel. It looks absolutely stunning in the light,” says Thomas. The hotel’s exterior is not to be outdone, as the sports field in the Hero Training Zone also features a huge work of art that can be seen in its entirety from the sky. In the Jack Kirby Legacy Gallery, Guests will discover a permanent exhibition of 21 comic book covers, which require careful study to find small hidden images. The space, named after the legendary “King of Comics,” was designed to accommodate temporary exhibitions as well.
To reinforce the feeling of being immersed in a New York City art gallery, Cast Members from the reception and concierge areas are trained on the various artistic trends represented. Guests can request guided tours at the reception desk – these ‘Art Guardians’ have plenty to share with Guests about the many works of art exhibited in the hotel.
The main challenge encountered during this transformation period was to completely reinvent the hotel from an already existing base and structure. “We had to stay true to the identity of the building while giving it a new energy and giving our Guests and Cast Members the impression that we are in a new place. I believe we were successful with this challenge!”