Artist Residence

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Artist Residence's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Artist Residence is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Founder Justin Salisbury
Artist Residence, Cambridge
Street, London
When co-founder Justin dropped out of university
to help out with the family bed and breakfast on
Brighton seafront, he set out to improve the business
with very little budget. Inspired by the Brighton art scene, he
sent out an advert for local artists to decorate rooms in return
for board. Hundreds of artists soon began decorating the walls,
floors and ceilings with unique murals and Artist Residence was
born. Justin explains more.
My journey began in 2008 when I took over our family guest house in Brighton. At
the time I was 20 years old and at Leeds University studying accounting and finance.
My mother had been through a difficult time and was recovering in hospital, having
been hit by a bus in Brighton. My father left home when I was three so the thought
of losing my mother too was scary. This came close to reality when the doctors
suggested we think about turning off the life support machine. Luckily, my mother
made a full recovery and, as someone with a head injury, still defies the odds.
My intention had always been to get a job in the city and while I had spent my
summers working as a housekeeper at the family guesthouse, I never thought I
would end up running it. I remember that first real buzz when I was standing on
the front doorstep of the hotel when someone asked if I had a room available. As
it happened, I did, and I gladly sold the room. Then more people walked by asking
the same question until all the rooms were sold. I was so happy that night that I
decided to try the same trick the following day, which was a Sunday, but failed to
attract one single customer. At that point my mind started racing, thinking about
how I could fill up the hotel when it wasn’t in peak demand.
»Founder: Justin Salisbury
»Established in 2008
»Based in Pimlico, London
»Services: Art-inspired boutique
»No. of employees: 133
Artist Residence
Highlighting best practice
Finding a balance
Armed with no money but an empty
hotel filled with tonnes of potential,
I went on Gumtree and placed an
advertisement. It read “Call for Artists”
and suddenly I had hundreds of artists
descend on the hotel, painting the
walls, ceilings and doors – hence the
name Artist Residence. Thinking back,
some of the décor was pretty suspect
but it made a real impact and business
picked up. I had decided to run the
guesthouse and at the same time
take on a full-time finance degree at
CASS Business School in London, so
I enrolled the help of some artists in
exchange for board to help juggle my
commitments. Eventually we picked
up a bit of press about being this mad
place covered in art in Brighton. A TV
producer decided to check it out and
quickly decided, much to my horror,
that it was one of the worst places
he’d ever stayed at. He then asked if
we wanted to appear on
The Hotel
, and I said yes.
Doing the TV show was great. Not
often do you get someone like Alex
Polizzi from the Rocco Forte Dynasty
appear on your doorstep and give you
a real rollicking while being broadcast
on TV. She made me face up to the
reality that I needed to try harder. This
was a great turning point for me and
ten years later we are about to open
our fifth site in Bristol.
What we do now has naturally
changed a lot from the early days. Art
is still a major part of our identity albeit
it is less about murals and more about
choosing artwork that fits into the
context of the building and its location.
We are very focused on supporting
local artists through buying their works
and displaying them throughout the
We are generally known as a hotel
brand that has really cool interiors. Our
marketing team have done a fantastic
job at promoting this and we have
over 65,000 followers on Instagram.
Room 7, The Stable
Art is still a
major part of
our identity
What isn’t really out there is that we’re
as much a restaurant and bar company
as we are a hotel. Last year, for the
first time, our food and beverage sales
accounted for more than room sales
and our ethos has morphed from not
only creating fun and friendly places
to stay but also ones you can eat and
drink at.
We want to be the local
neighbourhood hangout, where
people come every day, for any
occasion. We believe this can be
achieved by creating places with soul
that have great food and drink, a lovely
ambience and amazing hospitality
and service. This can only be achieved
by having great people to work with
us. We are so focused on creating
an amazing culture that really gives
opportunities for people grow with
the company, and it delights me that
two of our current general managers
started out as general assistants.
Finding hidden gems and
negating challenges
We currently have outposts in London,
Brighton, Cornwall and Oxfordshire
and employ around 150 people. Our
hotels are award-winning and last year
our net sales achieved £5.7 million.
This year we anticipate this will grow
to £7.5 million. So long as we enjoy
our work, our intention is to continue
growing and developing the business
as much as possible.
I’m very fortunate to work closely with
my wife Charlotte. Charlotte’s role is
managing director while I overlook
the finance and design side of the
business. When we’re not looking after
our three-year-old, we find suitable
closed or derelict sites, obtain planning
permission, find a local contractor
to carry out the works, manage the
interiors in-house, create the concept
we think will work in the local area,
find the key members of the team,
train the team and launch what we
hope will be a successful business.
This is a huge undertaking and there
is risk involved in creating a brand-
new hotel from scratch. Even if you
build something really well designed,
if you get the training and recruitment
not quite right, the business may fail.
We’ve come to laugh at it now, but
navigating local authorities is a difficult
process that really discouraged us in
the past.
As we work on a business from
the bricks-and-mortar standpoint
all the way through to day-to-day
operations, we have come across over
50 authorities that quite often provide
conflicting information. I have come
to accept the reality that there is a big
disconnect between policymakers and
business, and sadly, if anything, it’s a
harder environment now than when
we started out. The one thing that
keeps the entrepreneurial community
going is aspiration and the desire
to create something great. We are
dangerously close to killing that off.
We want to be
the local
where people
come every day
for any
Room 1, The Grand

This article was sponsored by Artist Residence. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster