Meet Elisabetta Scantamburlo, Art Director at nhow Milano

By Courtney Imel | 10:12

Elisabetta Scantamburlo, Art Director nhow Milano

The nhow Milano is a unique combination of design and originality, its a fusion between fashion, original design, and elegance. A dynamic combination of a hotel, an art gallery and a gateway: a treasure trove of unique and ever-changing experiences to discover and live. The constantly renewed exhibition centers are developed around a spatial design concept which creates an ever changing guest experience. Today we have the honor of introducing you to Elisabetta Scantamburlo, the mind behind everything that involves art and design inside this unique hotel. 

You studied Japanese Language and Literature. How and when did your career path turn to art?

I actually studied Japanese Language and Literature with a major in art, so my interest in art from the beginning went together with an interest for languages and countries quite different from my own. I must say that design came later though, and it has turned out to be a very interesting field to explore and delve into. 

Tell us a little about your experience studying at Keio University in Tokyo. What things, both personally and professionally, did you take away from your time there? 

My experience in Japan was very rich not only from the academic point of view (I attended a PhD program in art history studying Japanese Zen art and its influence on western modern art), but also human. Studying in Japan allowed me to get in touch with the contemporary way of life, and to experience the young lifestyle and artistic movements in a way that only the study from Italy or a full-time job there would not allow.

How does your fascination for Japanese creativity in general influence your work? 

Even in its most elaborate form of expressions Japanese creativity is informed by a purity in design and conception of lines and shapes, and by a deep concern for materials, all of which has influenced my taste and consequently my choices in the works I select, without it being a limit to my work. nhow itself has its own character, where I like to blend  different trends and insights.

As Art Director at nhow Milano, what exactly does your job consist of? 

I take care of all that involves art and design inside the hotel, starting from the two big collective art & design exhibitions we hold each year, plus managing the spaces on rent for design during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile .

My work starts from finding a theme to develop through all the common spaces of the 4 floors of the hotels and finding artists and designers whose work fit in with the hotel spirit and speaks about the given theme. Every artist and every designer expresses a different voice on the subject, and art and design are combined on each floor so as to enhance each other. Organizing exhibitions inside the nhow hotel works like writing (or better, drawing on a book), where each page/floor tells a new chapter painted with different colours and shapes. 

What aspects do you love most about your job? 

I love the way my job allows me to shape creative connections between art and design. It is never boring and I get to know and work with a lot of different creative people. Even though it’s not always easy, it never ends being stimulating. Every exhibition is a bit of a challenge, and when all the variants work together what fulfills me most is seeing the artists and designers satisfied with the results, and the hotel’s visitors and guests intrigued by what’s going on in the hotel.  

What do you love most about art and expression? Are you an artist yourself? 

It’s not an easy question, but I think I love it most when it is grounded in the present and personal, but it is able at the same time to transcend it and reach a more universal and sharable level. I like writing, but I am not an artist myself.

What has been your favourite exhibition so far at nhow Milano? 

I have fond memories of ‘100% Pure Love’  and ‘Ceci n’est pas un hotel’ for the way I managed to fit the exhibition within the hotel spaces. In the first one, each floor was devoted to a different kind of love, from playful to sinful, each one with a different percentage of love adding up to 100%. In the second one, each exhibition space in the hotel was turned into some completely different space, from the playground, to the hospital and to the grandma’s parlour. More recently I enjoyed Reality Fluids a lot, but it is really hard to make a selection. Each new exhibition opens up so many doors, in the way I try to develop the chosen theme, and in all the creative people I am able to meet. 

What makes the nhow Milano unique from other NH Hotels? 

nhow Milano is a really special place for me. It has a strong character in its architecture and interior, but it’s still cosy and welcoming. I never cease to have this feeling. I think that the fact that its ‘make up’ changes 3 times a year makes it even more special. I hope that people come back to nhow wondering what they are going to find next time, and I hope they enjoy the selection of works and the story connecting all of them. 




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