In a bid to celebrate its 150th year, W Budapest has unveiled a captivating chess board designed in collaboration with the British artist, designer, and curator, Ronan McKenzie.
This bespoke chess board is not just a game but a reflection of Budapest’s spirit, inviting guests to stay and play in the Fantastic, WOW, and E WOW suites at W Budapest.
Additionally, one board will be available for rent in various locations within the hotel. This collaboration between W Budapest and Ronan McKenzie cements the hotel’s status as a cultural hub in the city and offers a new way for people to connect and engage in the iconic game of chess.
Chess Resurgence in Budapest
Chess has experienced a global resurgence in recent years, and Budapest has always been a thriving centre for chess enthusiasts. The city has not only hosted major chess tournaments but has also produced world-class players. Budapest even boasts its ‘opening move sequence’ known as the Budapest Gambit. This rich chess history makes the collaboration with Ronan McKenzie even more meaningful.
Chess is more than just a game; it’s a symbol of intellectual prowess and strategic thinking. The resurgence of chess worldwide is a testament to its enduring appeal. In Budapest, chess isn’t just a pastime; it’s woven into the fabric of the city’s culture. This collaboration between W Budapest and Ronan McKenzie taps into that cultural richness and offers guests a unique experience that goes beyond the traditional hotel stay.
Ronan McKenzie’s Artistic Interpretation
Ronan McKenzie, a renowned figure in London’s creative scene, brings her unique perspective to Budapest through this chess board. Her design draws inspiration from the most iconic aspects of the city, Buda and Pest, and combines it with elements from the rich history of the W Budapest building. McKenzie’s creative portfolio includes cutting-edge exhibitions and collaborations, as well as her fashion brand, SELASI.
McKenzie’s design incorporates a reflective royal blue base, reminiscent of the city’s numerous water features, such as the Danube River and thermal baths. The arching supports in a concrete texture hold up the playing board, mirroring Budapest’s many bridges.
Striking pinks and reds in the design pay tribute to Hungary’s famous exports, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Harry Houdini. Two pawns on the board also abstractly reference these icons. The raised starting rows symbolize the hills of Buda and the flat expanse of Pest.
Ronan McKenzie’s approach to this project goes beyond aesthetics. Her interpretation of Budapest’s essence and its fusion with the hotel’s design narrative demonstrates a deep understanding of the city’s culture and history. This chessboard is not just a piece of art; it’s a bridge between past and present, a conversation starter, and a reflection of Budapest’s multifaceted identity.
Chess Pieces that Tell a Story
The chess pieces themselves are a reflection of Budapest’s rich history and culture. The rook mirrors the structural shapes found within W Budapest, while the knight represents a ballet dancer, a nod to the time when the hotel housed the Institute of Ballet.
This theme continues with the King and Queen, highlighting strong characters achieving leadership through teamwork. The bishop piece playfully references one of Harry Houdini’s famous escapes from a water tank.
Each chess piece has a story to tell, a connection to Budapest’s history and the hotel’s own narrative. As guests engage in a game of chess using these pieces, they become a part of this intricate storytelling. It’s a reminder that every move on the chessboard is not just a strategic decision but also a step into the city’s rich cultural tapestry.
A City Immersed in Chess Culture
Igor Buercher, the General Manager of W Budapest, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, highlighting Ronan McKenzie’s deep immersion in the city of Budapest during this unique project.
This artistic endeavour perfectly complements the hotel’s history and adds a new layer to Budapest’s thriving chess culture. Guests at W Budapest can now indulge in a game of chess in the hotel’s beautiful spaces, enjoying both the artistic chess board and the rich chess history of the city.
The city of Budapest has long been associated with chess. It’s a place where chess enthusiasts gather to engage in battles of wits and strategy. The city’s chess culture is not just limited to tournaments but is an integral part of everyday life. The collaboration between W Budapest and Ronan McKenzie celebrates this culture and invites guests to be a part of it.
W Budapest: A Daring Duality in the Heart of Budapest
W Budapest, located on Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city’s most luxurious shopping street, adds a daring duality to Hungary’s vibrant capital.
The hotel, housed in the iconic Drechsler Palace, offers 151 stylish guestrooms and suites, including the all-black Extreme WOW suite and the all-white WOW suite, paying homage to the famous ballet Swan Lake.
The hotel also boasts the Nightingale by Beefbar restaurant, Society25 destination bar, W Lounge, AWAY Spa, FIT fitness centre, and WET pool. W Budapest’s opening in 2021 marked a new direction for W Hotels, combining incredible design with a sophisticated yet playful atmosphere that resonates with the next generation of luxury travellers.
W Budapest is not just a hotel; it’s an experience. From its prime location on Andrássy Avenue to its avant-garde design, every aspect of this hotel is designed to provide guests with a unique and memorable stay. The chess board designed by Ronan McKenzie is yet another layer of this experience, inviting guests to engage with the city’s culture in a meaningful way.
Experience the Checkmate Stay at W Budapest
For those looking to immerse themselves in this unique chess experience, the Checkmate stay package starts at €1,209. It includes an overnight stay, breakfast, an F&B allowance, unlimited access to a CHECKMATE chess board, and a welcome gift. This package not only provides an unforgettable stay but also the opportunity to engage in a game that celebrates the spirit and culture of Budapest.
In conclusion, W Budapest’s collaboration with Ronan McKenzie has given birth to more than just a chessboard; it’s a celebration of Budapest’s rich history, culture, and artistic expression.
As guests engage in a game of chess within the hotel’s stylish spaces, they become a part of this vibrant tapestry that connects the past and the present, making their stay at W Budapest truly memorable. This unique experience is a testament to the hotel’s commitment to providing guests with more than just accommodation; it’s an immersion into the heart and soul of Budapest.