Artful Initiatives

Innovative design team aims to refine Le Méridien

Le Méridien’s room keys

Key development:
Le Meridien’s room keys
get a makeover.

Rebranding efforts are nothing new, but the program under way at Le Meridien aims to be the most inventive of the lot. The Starwood brand recently formed LM100, a team of a dozen handpicked, high-profile figures from the contemporary art and media worlds, to reconceive the guest experience.

LM100’s brain trust, which will balloon to 100 people in the next few years, is led by art critic and independent curator Jerome Sans. “My role is to help develop creative experiences for guests, which are designed to encourage new perspectives,” Sans explains. “I’m helping the brand find curators from all different disciplines, from fashion to food to music.”

One initiative currently under way in several locations is the “Unlock Art” program, in which guests are presented with artist-designed plastic key cards that double as complimentary admission to a local art museum or cultural institution. And, like other brands, Le Meridien also is working to improve the arrival experience for guests and has developed an onslaught of visual art, sounds and scents to greet travelers as they walk through the front door.

According to Eva Ziegler, senior vice president of Le Meridien, the team is developing a creative meeting initiative that will be ready in 2009. “It won’t be just decor on the table. We’ll start with redesigning the whole space, from the walls to the lighting,” she notes. The team plans to spice up meeting breaks, too, with special brain food, coffee tastings and chocolate/coffee pairings.