james turrell and marina abramović to design spa for motown hotel in australia

james turrell and marina abramović to design spa for motown hotel in australia

artists james turrell and marina abramović will design a spa as part of a new hotel development on the australian island state of tasmania. the hotel, titled ‘motown’, will be built alongside the museum of old and new art (MONA) a subterranean museum, which opened in 2011. the hotel, like the museum, is the brainchild of businessman and art collector david walsh, with both projects also sharing the same architect — fender katsalidis.

james turrell marina abramovic spa motown hotel
all images courtesy of MONA / fender katsalidis



according to NOMA, the design of the hotel cycled through many iterations over many years, emerging through the collective efforts of architect nonda katsalidis and david walsh, among others. ‘we wanted an inverted suspension bridge,’ walsh says, ‘but then the value engineers got at it. now it’s a shopping trolley that looks a bit like an inverted suspension bridge. the horizontal distance from the land to the point is 53 meters. it’s not modest.’

james turrell marina abramovic spa motown hotel
the hotel’s atrium



the five star hotel will have 172 rooms, which cantilever over the water to make the most of the river views. inside, there will be a theater, spa center, outdoor concert stage, and a library, as well as conference and auditorium facilities, and several new artworks. the art newspaper reports that the spa center will be designed by james turrell and marina abramović, while MONA is also working on some ‘special experience’ rooms.

james turrell marina abramovic spa
the plans also include a theater



the development application for motown has been submitted to local authorities, and the hotel could open as soon as 2024. see MONA’s entertaining announcement of the project here.



project info:


architect: fender katsalidis
client: MONA/david walsh 
location: hobart, tasmania, australia

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    503,121 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine