By Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks
Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel is about to open to guests, and it is one of the most anticipated experiences coming to Disneyland Paris. The 4-star hotel has been reimagined to be the first-ever hotel dedicated entirely to incredible Marvel artwork in what will be one of the largest publicly viewable collections around the world. We recently got a chance to check in with Sylvie Massara, Art Director at Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality, and Thomas Muller, Scenographer, to learn about one of the hotel’s most emblematic (and most stunning) décor elements.
Q: Sylvie, Thomas, thank you for taking the time to chat. Can you tell us about yourselves?
Sylvie: As an Art Director at Walt Disney Imagineering Paris – Design & Show Quality, in charge of Disneyland Paris hotels, my role is to translate the artistic direction defined by our creative leadership into designs that make most of the available space, while working well for our operations partners who will bring the experience to life for guests every day. I lead a small team of four – including Thomas – who handle the overall management of the project.
Thomas: A scenographer by trade, I assist Sylvie with the operational monitoring of the project, including consulting with contractors, supervising efforts on the construction sites and remaining connected with Imagineers based in Glendale, California, who are responsible for all things Marvel.
Q: Tell us more about this chandelier. What’s so special about it? How does it fit within the storytelling of the reimagined hotel?
Sylvie: We used most of 2020 to finalize fixtures and install mural elements – including a very special chandelier. For the Manhattan Restaurant, we wanted to recreate the elegant atmosphere of a high-end New York dining experience where references to Marvel art are subtle and contemporary art prevails. We also wanted a central element to “wow” guests. The idea of a magnificent sculptural piece of lighting came up. This chandelier, with its inverted-pyramid shape, fits well in the technical constraints of the building, while its shape, material and color evoke the realm of Asgard, all the while alluding to Manhattan skyscrapers.
Q: What’s the history of this impressive piece of décor? Any fun anecdotes?
Sylvie: To produce this unique piece of décor, I was looking to partner with a vendor that would combine unrivaled expertise at working with metal and glass, a close understanding of the artistic demands, and capability to deliver the contemporary, elegant look and feel we were looking for. Back in 2017, we identified several vendors, all based in Prague, Czech Republic – known worldwide as home to Bohemian crystal craft. We partnered with Lasvit, a vendor that assigned a dedicated designer to the project, and we were on the same wavelength from the start. Each component was glass-blown traditionally in Bohemian crystal glass. We played with the champagne, amber and light crystal colors. In addition, each component is silver-plated from the inside with pure silver. Some elements are twisted or shaped as trapezes of various sizes in order to epitomize inverted New York skyscrapers. There are more than 225 glass pieces in this four-meter-tall chandelier that took a year to create.
Thomas: Many of the challenges we’ve encountered along the way had to do with the integration of this out-of-the-norm chandelier into the existing structure. First, the ceiling it hangs from had to be reinforced. To support that weight, we integrated a metallic structure in the concrete slab covered by a metallic color board. Also, the ceiling has integrated technical tubing, and we even rerouted the air conditioning system to accommodate it.
Q: How do you expect guests to react when they first visit the hotel, and in particular, when they discover the chandelier?
Sylvie: From the outset, we have wanted this chandelier to become an iconic element of the guest experience. Obviously, it takes a holistic approach to the experience to achieve this result. For example, we work with a lighting designer to ensure that all lighting fixtures in the restaurant provide an atmosphere that allows the chandelier to shine in all its beauty.
Let’s take a look at an exclusive preview of the Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, including a presentation of the Manhattan Restaurant with Thomas.