Crown Perth still maintains its lavish reputation as an opulent resort but also as an artistic exhibition space. The grand complex in Burswood has, since its inception, been seen as the pinnacle of luxury in Perth, and its sizeable walls are a perfect place to be adorned with art. Avenoir was lucky enough to sit down with one of the artists involved in this splendid project.
Over the years, the iconic resort has remained strong through various changes in owners and proprietors, as well as progressing along nicely with Perth’s ever-expanding touristic pull. Initial construction began in March 1985, with the completed result officially opening to the public in 1988 as Burswood Island Hotel, as it was known at the time. Throughout the remainder of the 1980s and the 1990s, Burswood resort and casino continued to expand and revitalise its facilities until December 2011 when James Packer, Executive Chairman of Crown Limited, announced the rebranding of Burswood Entertainment Complex as Crown Perth.
After this, Crown Limited oversaw further changes and refurbishments so as to steer the resort and casino into the high-end realm of Crown Perth’s sister resort in Melbourne. In June of 2012, Perth Burswood was officially known as Crown Promenade, InterContinental Burswood became Crown Metropol Perth, and, in August, plans for a new 500 room six-star hotel to be built on Crown grounds were revealed to the public. And, four years later, Crown Towers opened its illustrious doors to the public on the 1st of December 2016.
Crown Towers has set to establish a new standard in “high-end tourism”, focusing its pull onto the domestic and international traveller. Today, Crown Towers is not simply a hotel, bar, restaurant and outdoor swimming area, but also a gallery exhibiting some of the best names in Australian art. The tower houses a total of 1,390 artworks from the ground floor, throughout just about every room and toilet, all the way up to the Crystal Club at the very top of the tower. Crown has very much decided to celebrate Western Australia’s rich natural wealth as every artwork is centred around a set of curatorial themes focused on this area, including water-lines, i.e. the Swan River and water; terrestrial wealth, the ancient West Australian landscape; and natural assets, such as expansive horizons, mineral wealth and botanical diversity.
In the wake of Crown Towers’ opening, Avenoir sat down with one of the artists to talk about his three beautiful artworks that have been provided with a comfortable home in the Crystal Club. We sit down with Alister Yiap in the beautifully furnished bar with the warm Perth afternoon sunlight streaming through the many windows to our right, hitting every nook and cranny in the bar area. Alister Yiap was born in Malaysia and is now a well-known Perth –based jeweller, sculptor and artist. Yiap has always excelled in art, taking home awards for artistic merit upon graduating from both primary and secondary school before moving onto university, where he studied a Bachelor of Art (Jewellery Design) at Curtin University, graduating in 2007 where he was awarded the Industry Award. Shortly after graduating university, Alister Yiap was invited to showcase his work at Styleaid. His name began to grow and Yiap participated in Perth Fashion Festival in a number of subsequent years.
Today, Yiap has moved away from commercial jewellery – although his staple line ‘Lamina’ is still available online – and has progressed towards bespoke and custom-made jewellery pieces.
“I just think, for me, it’s a better way to work. I felt the commercial jewellery was a bit difficult. You had to have stock on hand and you have to keep up with suppliers,” he told me.
“So, on demand or made to order is sort of where I’ve moved to with my jewellery. I guess it’s also a way to be self-sustaining as well, given the economic climate it may be a good decision to do it that way.”
Yiap has also branched out further as an artist, delving often into creating sculpture art projects with his unique flair. “The first [project] I was commissioned to make were seats for 140 William and then it kind of developed on,” he said. “But the latest one that was in publicity was Luxury Lady for The Cow Parade for city of Perth.”
The three art projects showcased in Crystal Club (‘Facet-Nate’, ‘River of Gold’, and ‘Spark’) are all very closely related in terms of theme and not simply because of the commissioned brief Yiap received along with the other artists.
“The design inspiration for the artworks in Crystal Club was based around the two themes of mineral wealth and water lines,” Yiap told me, and, true enough, these themes are clear in all three pieces. “Some of them incorporate both, but really focussing on the luxury of mineral wealth. That’s the golds, the pearls, the diamonds that we produce here in Western Australia.”
Crown Towers has been thoroughly focussed on WA’s richness in a number of ways including the themes employed and the art chosen. In total, Crown Towers, in line with FORM, appointed 35 Australian artists to take part in this massive project, 20 of which are WA artists. In doing this, Crown is not only providing their clientele with a beautiful setting, but also keeping culture and the arts alive in Perth – in an unexpected and generous fashion.