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Sleep inside an art piece at Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel

It’s kind of like Woodstock, but a hotel room.


The artists refer to the work of art as an architectural college.

Photo by LOUtoday

From ugly duckling to immersive art piece, the “Asleep in the Cyclone” room at 21c Museum Hotel downtown is a 1960s timewarp you can sleep in.

Its humble beginnings as an unpopular basement hotel room changed in 2013 when the hotel commissioned New York-based artist collective Jonah Freeman + Justin Lowe to create a site-specific art piece guests could book like any other hotel room.

The main attraction inside the 500-sqft room is a colorful geometric ceiling sculpture reminiscent of both a quilt and stained glass. It begins above the doorway and stretches overhead across the multi-level, carpeted room before landing on the back wall behind the king-size bed.

Loutoday_Cyclone room

The glass cabinet opposite the platform bed is filled with creations by Freeman and Lowe.

Photo by LOUtoday

Everything in the room, aside from the usual hotel amenities, were designed and hand-picked by Freeman and Lowe. Here are a few things of note:

  • Record player with selected records — we spotted Ten Years After and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Repurposed barn wood
  • A glass curio cabinet filled with fictional books and 1960-era art
  • Curated blankets and linens
  • Antique writing desk and rocking chair

The Museum Manager for 21c Louisville, Hunter Kissel, said the room references a former 1960s artist commune in southern Colorado called Drop City. The settlement’s structures, where the artists lived and worked, were based off Buckminister Fuller’s geodesic domes — Think: Epcot’s Spaceship Earth and those metal playground domes you used to climb as a kid.

“Not only were they building the domes out there in Colorado, they were finding materials, old buildings, and spare parts to make these things, so they do have a quilt-like pattern to them that this room does, too,” said Hunter.

LOUtoday_Cyclone room

Hunter said returning guests bring their own records to play on the record player.

Photo by LOUtoday

The Cyclone room — which can be booked for about $664 per night — is the only Jonah Freeman + Justin Lowe installation in Derby City.

DYK: Since Louisville is home to the flagship 21c Museum Hotel, it has more site-specific works than any other location. Aside from the Cyclone room, a few others in LOU include the curbside red gemstone limousine, “Wheel of Fortune”, and the “Text Rain” exhibit by the elevator.

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