Lately Rome has been getting trashed, but this time it is the Hotel Corona Save the Beach‘s (aka Trash Hotel) which ends its five-day vacation in the Eternal City today. Made entirely of waste from the shores of Europe’s beaches (12 tons of plastic, tins and general crap that washes up), the Trash Hotel is a temporary novelty and thus a subtle nod to the permanent problem of discarded waste in world’s oceans and seas. As reported by AFP, German artist Ha Schult who created the Trash Hotel said of the installation, “The environmental problem is a global problem. We are living in a planet of garbage.”
Clever in both design and execution, the Trash Hotel sits in the gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo, a nearly 2000-year-old monument built originally as the tomb to Emperor Hadrian, restructured and redecorated through the Renaissance and Baroque era by numerous popes and made part of pop-culture as the bad guy hideout in Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons– another insider joke about permanence and what we deem as permanent importance. The Trash Hotel is sponsored by Corona (yes, the beer company) along with partners BlueFlag, Surfrider and 40 Viajes which together started the Save the Beach campaign to clean up one European beach each year. In 2009, Rome’s Capacotta beach was chosen as the project’s goal, and now more than 100 beaches are candidates for 2010. To help promote the Trash Hotel and its global aesthetic was Helena Christensen, supermodel, international environmentalist and the hotel’s first guest.
Schult has made other trashy appearances in Rome- in 2007, an army of trash soldiers stood at attention in Piazza del Popolo, which has been around the world and in other famous time-defying monuments since 1996. As a contemporary art aficianado, I was less than thrilled by the installation, but as a strong supporter and participant of Rome’s recent environmental endeavors- Car Sharing, Bike Sharing and AMARoma – I caught Schult’s dour punchline, which he has recycled into his Trash Hotel. To paraphrase Peggy Lee, when the dust settles and the monuments crumble, is that all there is?
Photos from Getty Images