The Apurva Kempinski Bali x Cyril Kongo: Spray-happy
With its just opened ‘L’Atelier’, The Apurva Kempinski Bali invites graffiti artist and fashion favourite Cyril Kongo to get creative on the hotel’s top floor. It’s a fitting collaboration and a tribute to a Southeast Asian way of life.
What’s the one thing to make a Balinese shrine to hedonistic hospitality even easier on the eyes than it already is? Why, a bit of art, of course! The Apurva Kempinski Bali, among the swankiest of resorts in the island’s exclusive Nusa Dua region (we stayed there, so we would know), must’ve had the same brainwave when they decided to invite famed graffiti artist Cyril Kongo to open an atelier on the hotel’s top floor. Kongo’s exhibition, which has just opened, is perhaps best described as a hybrid between a fine art gallery and an active artist’s studio. It’s lively, colourful, and – we mean this in the best way possible – just a bit mad.
When we first heard about the collaboration, we were frankly a bit puzzled. Street art and five-star luxury addresses don’t tend to be the best of friends (in fact, we can think of more than one example when the two clashed), but as a Kempinski resort, The Apurva has art running in its blood. The hotel does, as a matter of fact, describe itself as an ‘embodiment of culture, diversity and craftsmanship’, and taking this into account, a partnership with an art world disruptor actually makes perfect sense. Since opening mid-June, Kongo has turned the 144 square-metre ‘L’Atelier’ into quite the spectacle, a little birdie down in Bali tells us.
To those familiar with the artist’s work, this will come as no surprise: having developed his rough street painting style into an internationally recognised handwriting, Kongo has grown into a fashion favourite in recent years, collaborating with everyone from Richard Mille to Hermès and, perhaps most famously, Chanel. What’s special about this particular project, we think, is Cyril’s very own connection to Southeast Asia: the French-Vietnamese artist’s work radiates a lust for life and the ever-so-slightly chaotic rhythm we remember from the streets of Hanoi or, in fact, bustling Bali. There’s something quite distinctively Southeast Asian about his work – it’s intuitive, spontaneous, and never fully complies with the expectations of a Western gaze.
And that’s exactly why we love The Apurva getting Kongo on board for the L’Atelier. We can think of some ten supposedly similar graffiti artists who no doubt would’ve come up with engaging concepts for the hotel’s studio space, but for all it’s worth, Kongo’s vision makes for a more authentic addition to the resort, whose very architecture carries a distinctively Asian flavour. ‘The Apurva Kempinski Bali is all about telling stories’, General Manager Vincent Guironnet points out, ‘and we are extremely excited to share this new chapter of celebrating diversity with the world’.
Though Bali currently remains off-limits to many travellers, the island never fully slips off our radar. When the time comes and we can visit again, we know where we’ll be headed first.