Cavanaghs Man and Dog at the Forty Foot hanging in the Marker Hotel

Cavanagh’s 'Man and Dog at the Forty Foot' hanging in the Marker Hotel

Opened in early 2013, the new 5-star Marker Hotel incorporates a 420 piece art collection which includes an 88 piece commission from photographer Enda Cavanagh. In this large-scale commission, the artist, gallery, architect, interior designer and commissioner collaborated to address the brief of the project and created a constant dialogue throughout the commissioning process.

When the recession hit Ireland, the construction industry came to a halt and with it the development of the ‘checker-board’ building at Grand Canal Dock, serving as a reminder of the boom times and their downfall.

But in 2012, a beacon of light appeared when the building was acquired by Midwest, a Swiss-based group, and Brehon Capital Partners, and the project resurrected.  The owners aimed to develop a five-star hotel, and something original in Ireland. To reflect the quality of their service, they decided that no corners would be cut, least of all the acquisition of art for the hotel.

The company hired McCauley Daye O’Connell as architects and interior designers, who set out on a sourcing mission with a budget of €250,000 to find the perfect art for the hotel.

It was during one of their expeditions that the architects came across Enda Cavanagh’s exhibition in the Copper House Gallery, which is owned by Fire. They put a call into Kevin McGillycuddy, managing director of Brehon Partners, who visited the exhibition and liked what he saw.

McGillycuddy trained as an architect and felt very strongly that the hotel had to have art of the same standard as the hotel.

“If you look at the hotel itself, which is evocative of the Irish landscape and coastlines, we wanted to integrate the artwork keeping in line with Irish artists. At the time as well, we knew that it was fairly tough economic times so we didn’t want to go too far to find the artist. And we thought it would be appropriate to use Irish-based artists,” he says.

Dan Daye, director, McCauley Daye O’Connell Architects, says it was an enormous task because there was a significant budget to get through.

“We were involved in delivering the overall concept and the interiors and because the architecture was inspired by local landscape we thought it was important to get art that reflected the ethos of the building.”

Some 428 pieces were purchased or commissioned, including sculpture, print and photography. Enda Cavanagh’s body of work comprised 88 of those.

Daye says seeing Cavanagh’s work printed at the Copper House Gallery made a big difference to the final selection.

“You can’t really appreciate his photos unless you see them on a large scale. His artwork is edgy and urban and his technique inventive. Fire had taken the opportunity to print them in the best possible way using quite advanced techniques.”

Cavanagh says the exposure from the exhibition certainly facilitated the purchase of the 88 pieces by Brehon.

“The way I photograph and the way I structure my photographs, size is everything. The acrylics on which I print my large pieces generally give that wow factor to the works but the problem is that kind of printing is expensive. With Fire, they facilitated the exhibition of 11 large works, which I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to receive. They were very proactive during the whole commissioning of the works.”

He adds that the architects were also hands-on.

“There was always the feeling they wanted the best rather than the cheapest. They were willing to go that extra mile. It was the same with Brehon Partners and the hotel – the philosophy was to go the extra mile so that it would make a difference.”

The Marker has embraced the artwork by bringing it right through to its restaurant menus and continuing to support the artist even after the commission.

Leszek Wolnik, director of Fire and the Copper House Gallery, says Cavanagh is attracting several prestigious commissions around the world as a result.

He adds that the Marker Hotel will get many benefits from placing quality art in its hotel.

“There are so many studies that show productivity and creativity increase when there’s art in the workplace. A company that has art in the workplace is widely regarded as a progressive, caring and innovative company.

“All of us are in awe of a company that would have that vision and that commitment to commission out such a huge budget. The hotel is incredibly forward-thinking and we all take our hats off to them. These times are very difficult and few people are buying art, so we can only encourage it.”

Design by New Graphic.