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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Daylighted Turns Hotels Into Digital Art Galleries

Wednesday June 1st, 2016 - 12:40PM


Daylighted's SmARTGallery on display at Sofitel San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO—The best ideas can come when you least expect it. For French-born Alex Cammarano, it was seeing the U.S. through the lens of a camera during a cross-country road trip and his desire to share his photographs that sparked the creation of Daylighted.com, a next-generation art gallery experience.

“We started the company about two years ago and, at the time, I was not in the art world. I bought my first camera, took 6,000 photos and I put them on social media. I was so inspired by the talent I discovered on social media and wanted to find a way to expand the boundaries of art. I created the technology for myself in my living room to display my art and rapidly found the opportunity to help other people discover art,” said Cammarano, CEO and co-founder of Daylighted. He founded the tech start-up along with co-founder Elisabeth Mouchy, an entrepreneur passionate about art and new technology.

Designed to offer guests “a new delight every day,” the digital platform provides hoteliers with customizable art-focused content that is creative, interactive and engaging. The company’s first product is a digital canvas called the SmARTGallery, which is comprised of art from local artists and galleries that rotates and enables the user to program an exhibition on a TV screen. Hotels can tailor the artistic content of the SmARTGallery to match their in-house programming or any theme they wish and then specify what time of day and how long they’d like to run a particular set of artwork.

“If we want to run a jazz collection from 5-7 p.m. because the hotel is hosting a jazz concert, we can program that. It is interactive and allows the person to look at the screen, touch the screen or tablet near the screen to interact with the artist online, learn about the artwork and eventually buy the art,” said Cammarano. “The purchase is happening in the online art gallery of the Daylighted.com website. The object in the public space is to be the inspirational point and lead them to the online marketplace to buy the art. It’s an experience for the guest in the hotel and on our website. They can look at different exhibitions and shows from the hotel partner.”

Daylighted has more than 10,000 pieces of art featured in their SmARTGallery from artists from all over the world, but it’s their ability to localize the art as more and more hotel brands are seeking to provide travelers with a keen sense of place throughout their stay.

“Our main focus is to have the right art for the right moment. We talk to hoteliers about the property’s personality, culture and what type of experience they want and from there we look for the right artists for that particular hotel,” he said. “Most of the hotels want to show local artists and we believe Millennials want to have that local experience, too. Hotels are offering local wines, local breweries and now local artists.

Daylighted's digital art installations can be seen at properties such as William Vale in New York, Sofitel in San Francisco Bay, as well as Hotel Zephyr and Hotel Kabuki here. As word spreads, artists are clamoring to get on board.

“The artists are very excited to work with us to exhibit in these places. It’s a great opportunity for artists. Most of the artists have a website, so we will take their webpage and put it where people go. Artists come to us now. We have a team of art curators to select and make sure we have high-quality art on the platform,” he said.

Building and launching this platform was a collaborative effort for Cammarano and his team as they sought to learn about the industry and then create a platform that was aligned with it. “I’ve been lucky to surround myself with the right people. I learn quickly and learned the basics to get started and we built an amazing team,” he said.

In just two short years, Daylighted is gaining traction in the hospitality industry as a recommendation from one hotel can often spur business at another in the chain. “Every hotel we have worked with, they recommend us to another by the same brand or management company. It’s our biggest source of new customers. Hotels love it,” he said. “For the guest, we have an average of 3,000 interactions per month on the tablet next to the Daylighted screen. Guests will look at different exhibitions and buy the art. They are curious when they see a big screen with beautiful content and they want to know more. It’s all interactive and sparks interest.” 

—Corris Little

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