Twitter makes colourful art on restaurant walls

Customers enjoy the unique Tweet Art in the Ibis restaurant. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Customers enjoy the unique Tweet Art in the Ibis restaurant. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A NEW hotel restaurant is giving an artistic dimension to food critiques tweeted by its customers.

Comments from budding food critics will be given a makeover before being projected onto the walls of the Ibis on Edinburgh’s Cowgate.

The short reviews will be translated into “Tweet Art” – colourful shapes and swirls which expand and develop while projected on the wall.

The venue, which opened in January, is part of the SOCO Alexander Building, which has risen from the ashes of the 2002 blaze which destroyed Fringe venue Gilded Balloon, La Belle Angele nightclub and Edinburgh University’s School of Informatics.

Hotel guests can also take part in another artistic project by downloading the Sleep Art app. If they put their phone under their pillow, the app records movements and sounds from a night’s sleep.

Much like the Tweet Art, the app – which has an in-built alarm – will turn the data into a colourful pattern which can be shared on social networking sites.

Despite its focus on technology, the hotel also nods to Scotland’s rich history, with poems by Burns and Fergusson and Pictish symbols gracing the walls and ceilings. Old Scots sayings and notable years in history are also peppered through the abstract murals.

On the other side of the restaurant, a gallery of black and white paintings and prints depict famous landmarks in the Capital.

Niall McGurn, food and beverage manager at the 259-room hotel, said the idea had attracted a lot of attention.

“We get people walking alongside the walls, commenting on the pictures,” he said. “People sit at breakfast, look at the Tweet Art and wonder what the stories are.”

Sue Loveluck of Soco Edinburgh said the ancient symbols reflected the “first forms of social networking”.

She added: “Anything tweeted about the Ibis comes up into artists’ impressions on the wall.

“Everybody seems to be so interested in what we are doing here. Everyone in Edinburgh has a connection with this site.”

The artistic theme continues outside the hotel, with a sculpture of an upside down arch modelled on the awnings of the former Gilded Balloon.

The Earth Clamp was designed by the Bask Collective, four artists who trained at London’s University of the Arts. It was of particular significance to member Jim Shepherd, as his father John owned the site before selling it to developers Jansons Property.

He said: “We looked at the history of the site. The arches were a strong feature.”

Was it a good night’s sleep?

THE Twitter-based Tweet Art and Sleep Art apps are designed to be interactive visual experiences for guests.After a guest tweets a comment about their experience via Tweet Art, the words are transformed into an animation of colours and shapes.

Each artwork is projected on to a wall and shared with other guests. For example, the comment “it was a delicious meal” translated into red swirls in a cross with spirals moving out from it.

With the Sleep Art app, users can chart their artwork’s progress minute by minute to see how it was created during the night. The design corresponds with how well the person slept that night.

Natural green shades signal a happy night’s sleep, while red and amber tones suggest a restless night.