Belmond welcomes the world to Rio de Janeiro with a series of art installations by award-winning Icelandic artist, Kristjana S Williams, at the city’s landmark beachfront hotel, Belmond Copacabana Palace. Inspired by cartography and nature, the most dramatic of the artist’s creations is a butterfly-themed theatrical light projection that shows butterflies gliding over the seven-storey-high hotel facade.
The display will run nightly at 7pm for 10 minutes until 14 August. It can be enjoyed by the general public from the beach promenade in front of the hotel, and spectators are encouraged to share the moment using #DiscoverBelmond.
Each butterfly carries a different country’s flag on its wings, designed to represent the coming together of nations from around the globe in celebration of cultural diversity. Belmond adopts the butterfly as a symbol of hope, strength found in fragile beauty, the promise of new life and a journey well-travelled.
Andrea Natal, GM Belmond Copacabana Palace, explains, “We wanted to host a series of initiatives that engage with our guests, local community and welcome travellers from around the world to Rio, at a time when the city is at its most vibrant. Belmond Copacabana Palace is an important visual landmark and one of the most photographed buildings in the city, so we wanted to do something special with the facade that would create a wonderful lasting impression of the destination.”
To keep visitors guessing, there are a number of different butterfly and celebratory themed projections, all carrying the message ‘Rio Welcomes the World’.
From 4pm on 31 July, preceding the first projection, local visitors and guests gathered at the beach outside the hotel for the launch of 200 butterfly-shaped kites and 700 balloons. The celebrations were led by local dignitaries, athletes and the children of Solar Meninos de Luz, the hotel’s long-term charity, which supports the education and welfare of children from underprivileged communities in Rio de Janeiro’s South Zone.
Williams is also behind a window exhibit that can be seen by the public from Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, behind the hotel, depicting previous host Olympic cities. The series of works honour the spirit of hospitality demonstrated by past and present Olympic cities, including London, Athens and Rio, and is a gesture of goodwill to the next host city of Tokyo.
Guests of the hotel can enjoy further artistic displays with illustrated maps over the reception and concierge desks entitled ‘Belmond Map of the World’ and ‘Rio Welcomes the World’. Kristjana S Williams’ creations are handcrafted by interweaving layers of 18th-century engravings, photographs, paintings and drawings with contemporary illustrations to create fantastical artworks, which juxtapose traditional illustration with a bold modern aesthetic.
From 31 July, visitors to the poolside restaurant and Piano Bar or spa will be able to get in to the spirit of the games with limited-edition gold, silver and bronze celebratory cocktails or spa treatments.
To stay up to date with Belmond, follow the social media campaign #BelmondAroundTheWorld #BelmondPostcards #TeamBelmond, which began in London and will journey across the portfolio of hotels, luxury trains and river cruises to finish in Rio de Janeiro.