Check In: Designtripper at the 21c!

Louisville, Kentucky
04.20.2011 | by: Meghan

After spending a few rollicking hours at the kid-geared UnMuseum in Zaha Hadid’s Contemporary Arts Center, we loaded the kiddos (who may have been kicking and screaming) back in the car for a two-hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky, where we’re staying at the super-famed 21c Hotel. I cannot stress enough: This place is worth every single dribble of high praise. It is mind-blowingly cool. Take the repeat video of a sleeping couple in twisted sheets projected onto the floor in front of the reception desk. Or the interactive installation–Text Rain–in the elevator bank that drops little words of a poem around your shadow reflection. My toddler played with both for hours. But guess what? The staff totally encourages it. That’s right–no “please do not touch” signs or fussy  attendants following you around with the stink eye.

The story behind the hotel is pretty incredible, too. The owners Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown started the hotel not just because they have a vast personal collection that they wanted to share (much of the art on display is theirs), but they also wanted to help rescusitate the downtown. The couple, who lives on a 1,000-acre farm 25 miles down the river (they raise bison!), believe people can help save farmland through urban revitalization. Make things more interesting downtown, and folks will want to be there again. And so far, their plan seems to be working. In the past five years since the 21c opened, the people are flocking–tourists and locals–and there’s a renewed interest in the downtown scene.

The exhibits change pretty regularly, with major shows two to three times a year. Right now, the exhibit taking up most of the space is Cuba Now–a whopping collection of amazing contemporary art by Cuban artists (inspired by a trip Steve and Laura Lee took to Cuba in 2003; they’ve been collecting Cuban art ever since). The hotel is open to art viewers 24 hours a day–a fact I find pretty extraordinary. I like knowing that if I woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep, I could go downstairs and watch all the videos I can’t get through with a toddler tugging at my skirt. But even better: the cold milk and warm cookies the staff brought, unsolicited, to our room before bed.

Tomorrow, we’ll show you everything we’ve done and seen in Louisville–which is such a beautiful, lush city of trees, historic cast-iron architecture and derby fever (even though it’s a couple weeks away).

For more photos from the road, go to the Lincoln-Designtripper site!

[Disclaimer: Ford Motor Company is the paying sponsor of designtripper’s road trip to New Orleans, which also included a Lincoln MKX for the duration of the trip.]

Share/Bookmark

27 Comments on “Check In: Designtripper at the 21c!”

  1. How exciting is it going to be when you can just walk right next door from the CAC to the 21C!

     

  2. Great post! I’ve wanted to go to this hotel since Kelly showed me her pictures a few years ago. Someday…

    I hope you two have so much fun!

     

  3. I hope that you ate at Proof–the restaurant in the hotel! They have great food (the last time I was there, I had some mind-blowing grilled octopus). I’ll look forward to seeing what else you enjoyed in my home state of KY.

     

  4. What a wonderful series of posts on Louisville! I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit and picked up on all the things we love about it there!

     

  5. Love the place, love your whole trip down south. It makes me want to go to all these places!

     

  6. Catherine: We ate breakfast at Proof. And I had the best egg sandwich of my life.

    Karyn: We loved Louisville!

    Patrizio: You should go to all these places (right after you come to visit me in Detroit).

     

  7. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there.

     

  8. I love the efforts you have put in this, appreciate it for all the great articles.

     

  9. I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

     

  10. Very interesting points you have mentioned , regards for putting up. “I never said most of the things I said.” by Lawrence Peter Berra.

     

  11. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

     

  12. Appreciate it for helping out, good info .

     

  13. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

     

  14. I think you have observed some very interesting points , thanks for the post.

     

  15. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is awesome, great written and include approximately all significant infos. I would like to see extra posts like this.

     

  16. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

     

  17. Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, regards . “Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.” by Euripides.

     

  18. Absolutely pent content material , regards for entropy.

     

  19. Only a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding design and style .

     

  20. Good write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s web site, maintain up the nice operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

     

  21. I simply wished to appreciate you again. I do not know the things that I might have worked on in the absence of the type of techniques contributed by you regarding my question. It had become the troublesome difficulty in my circumstances, however , considering a professional mode you solved it made me to cry with contentment. Extremely happier for this advice as well as pray you realize what a great job your are putting in instructing the rest via your blog post. I am sure you’ve never encountered all of us.

     

  22. I conceive this internet site has got some very great info for everyone :D. “Experience is not what happens to you it’s what you do with what happens to you.” by Aldous Huxley.

     

  23. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s website, maintain up the nice operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

     

  24. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in web explorer, may check this… IE nonetheless is the market leader and a huge part of folks will omit your excellent writing due to this problem.

     

  25. I like this web site very much, Its a rattling nice spot to read and get info . “…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” by Conan Doyle.

     

  26. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thanks, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

     

  27. My wife and i felt now joyful that Edward could finish off his investigation through the precious recommendations he acquired using your site. It is now and again perplexing to just find yourself freely giving techniques some other people have been selling. And we all fully grasp we have the blog owner to appreciate for this. Most of the illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward web site navigation, the relationships you can aid to foster – it’s mostly excellent, and it’s really making our son and our family imagine that this subject is entertaining, which is exceptionally indispensable. Thank you for all!

     

Leave a Comment