Nestled just a few blocks from The Walk of Fame, the DLC Chinese Theater and the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Boulevard, it’s hard to imagine a more classically “Hollywood” location for The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood. The timeless beauty of old Hollywood glamour lives alongside unexpected, contemporary details. The partnership between KBAA, The Gettys Group and architect Steinberg Hart is all about timeless sophistication with moments of sparkle and even a little quirk.
With a project that tempts passers-by with a raised eyebrow and wink, it’s only right that the art should command similar attention. The Godfrey Hotel is home to several pieces of functional exterior art—even partnering with the City of Los Angeles on a piece of public art—created by Los Angeles resident and second-generation sculptor Nick Petronzio (founder of Artscape Sculpture Studio, then with IronWood) that invites guests to interact, explore and take advantage of the photo opp.
While functional, “photo opp”-worthy art isn’t an entirely new concept, the recent proliferation of interactive art—from the highly successful (albeit controversial) Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit to New York City’s Instagram-famous Museum of Ice Cream—have reinforced the impact that easily accessible and engaging art can have.
The key to creating timeless functional art? Collaborating with artists who can both understand the engineering needed to execute the final product, and create a piece that stands alone as a stunning work of art.
Celebrate the Unexpected at The Godfrey
Situated at the corner entrance, Petronzio’s larger-than-life “Signs of the Times” sculpture was inspired by the American Sign Language sign for “I love you.” The sculpture, which was hand-carved and cast in fiberglass, was finished in gold to tie back into the Hollywood glitz and glamour of the property (even with a nod to the gold Oscar statue, given away yearly at the Dolby Theater, a few blocks away). To ensure durability, the piece was created with a stainless steel-welded internal armature and an automotive-paint finish. The beautiful foliage and landscaping was designed in partnership with Steinberg Hart to provide a stunning backdrop for the piece, as well as protect the sculpture from potential damage.
As guests pull up to the hotel, they are greeted by a custom bright red bike rack, once again created by Petronzio, that spells out “Godfrey” in branded font. At 30 inches tall and with in-ground flood lights, each letter is not only a visually arresting sculpture, it’s also perfectly functional. Constructed out of thick water jet cut steel plate and anchored into the concrete with two welded steel base plates, the care taken by Petronzio (who also fabricated the letters) to understand the engineering necessary for a functioning bike rack ensures a safe and sturdy home for visiting bicycles.
Just around the corner, by the entry to the rooftop pool and bar, lives “Wings of the Majestic,” a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire inspired sculpture of dancing bodies in motion—with cutouts for guests to stand in and join the dance. Designed to both stand alone as a sculpture and act as an interactive photo opportunity for guests, the piece was thoughtfully designed, down to selecting a height that would allow the greatest number of guests to step up and interact. Made of bronze rod with a buffed finish, the sculptures invoke motion and harken to the Hollywood of yesteryear.
During the project, the KBAA team submitted “Wings of Majestic” to be recognized as a piece of public art by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (who had a recent goal of featuring more contemporary, emerging artists), ensuring the piece will remain a representation of the local community for years to come.