By Rafiq Vayani
DUBAI/KARACHI: Ambiance Boutique Art Hotels launched its second property in Pakistan in Karachi, City of Lights. The grand opening showcased not only the stunningly designed property and its distinctively-curated art collection but also a unique immersive theatrical performance in which an entire block of the hotel was converted into a ‘walk-through’ theatre, allowing guests to interact with performing actors.
Prominent faces seen at the launch ceremony included Former Senator Javed Jabbar & Ms. Shabnum Jabbar, Senator Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, prominent economist Ishrat Husain, civil rights activist Jibran Nasir, former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, Beaconhouse chairperson Nasreen Kasuri, Wajid Jawad, renowned architect and furniture designer Yousaf Shahbaz, Sharmila Faruqi & Hasham Riaz Sheikh, Sanam Saeed, Mohib Mirza, Ayesha Omer, Maria Wasti, Asim Raza, Saqib Malik, Asad Ul Haq & Farah Haq, Tariq Amin, Fifi Haroon, Rukaiya Adamjee,Tapu Javeri, Nubain Ali, Shamoon Abassi, HSY, Khadijah Shah, Maheen Karim, Saba Ansari, Fouzia Amaan, Sachal Afzal, Takeshi Khoji, Fatima Hasan, Mahvaish Rehman, Misbah Momin, Asad & Laila Premjee, Adil & Saima Haider, Adnan & Nida Tapal, Raza & Mehreen Agha, Chandni Saigol, Marium Ahmed, Farah Leghari, Simeen Tapal, Mikaal Habib, Ushna Malik, Rashmi Kumari, Aatiqa Lateef, Mehr Hamid, Ali Ahmed, Asim Butt, Mahjabeen Obaid, Iman Habib and Farah Kapadia Mehboob among others.
Amid the glitz and glamour of celebrities, socialites and fashionistas, a number of artists, designers, corporate leaders, journalists/bloggers and media personalities also attended the event. Also present were Moyena Niazi, hotel architect; Sabeen R. Shiraz, interior designer of the hotel and Deepak Perwani, the hotel’s official stylist who also designed the staff uniforms.
Hosted by Kasim Kasuri, CEO and Chief Design Curator of Ambiance Hotels, the event was marked by ‘Living Art: Episode Two’, an immersive theatre performance directed by theatre actor Vajdaan Shah which bridged the gap between the visual and performing arts. Uber-creative and distinctive, the Living Arts performance was an amalgamation of 18 different stories inspired by the artwork displayed at Ambiance Hotel, each of which was selected by the Ambiance Curators’ Committee which includes Prof. Salima Hashmi, former Principal, National College of Arts; Prof. Shehnaz Ismail, founding member of Indus Valley School; Adeela Suleman, Director, Vasl Artists’ Association and Ambiance’s own Kasim Kasuri.
Guests were mesmerised as they interacted with the performing actors who individually; in couples and groups told an interwoven tale which included themes of sibling separation, lost love, the trauma of war, regeneration and celebration replete with mad scientists; fembots, singing robots, guns, operating theaters and surgeons in scrubs and cake; all buoyed by intense action and stellar believable depictions. Audience members walked through several rooms to follow the trajectory of the performances in four time slots between 6.30pm and 10.30pm.
Speaking on the occasion Kasim Kasuri, who describes himself as a ‘serial art collector’, commented: “We built Ambiance to redefine hospitality by offering curated experiences to its patrons as Pakistan’s first network of boutique art hotels. Art is center-stage at the hotel, not just in terms of the paintings on our walls but in terms of our overall design aesthetic. While staying at Ambiance, you get to live, breathe, and immerse yourself in visually and aesthetically appealing art in multiple forms.”
The newly-launched hotel, a green oasis situated in Clifton Block 5 in the heart of Karachi, showcases over 200 original works of art from emerging and mid-career Pakistani artists including Atif Khan, Mohsin Shafi, Sonia Chundrighar, Beygum Bano, Tooba Ashraf, and many others.
The deluxe boutique hotel separated into four spacious blocks currently has 24 rooms, 10 of which are already operational. In the near future it will offer guests 42 luxuriously-appointed accommodations including the upcoming ‘Ambiance Garden Suites’, each one featuring a lush green private garden. A spa and other facilities are also expected to be launched.
Between the acts guests luxuriated and enjoyed delicious aperitifs including sushi, grilled chicken strips and chocolate brownies along with refreshing mint and beetroot juices at ‘Ambiance Express’, a first- of- its- kind complete hotel restaurant which serves a carefully curated menu of global comfort food.
Later invitees attended a rooftop celebration party hosted by Kasim and Sophia Kasuri replete with cake-cutting, a live DJ and an artist couple, Safwan Subzwari and Marium Kamal working live on an vibrant oversize canvas.
Renowned for their thoughtfully-crafted interiors and soulful vibe, Ambiance Boutique Art Hotel first launched in Lahore in October 2020.
Pakistan’s pioneering production and PR agency Catwalk Event Management Productions Pvt. Ltd. that has 32 years of experience were responsible for orchestrating this unique launch event in Karachi and its PR.