Hard Rock Memorabilia: From Concept To Installation

So, you walk into any Hard Rock Cafe or Hard Rock Hotel, and there are a few things that immediately jump out at you. You might check out, for instance, how awesome the place is, how it’s filled with music and people actually having fun. Or you might head to the Rock Shop to pick up your favorite collectors item. Or you might notice all of the music memorabilia on the walls, those instruments, photos, gold records, and outfits collected over the last 40+ years and highlighting the last 60 years of music from around the world. How does all of the memorabilia get on the walls? Where does it come from? Is there a method to the madness? Yes. Yes, there is.

You’d think it would be easy to take a hundred or so of the memorabilia items we have on hand, tack them to a wall, and call it a day, but there’s a lot more that goes into designing the memorabilia installations at each and every Hard Rock location. Whether it’s a Cafe in Belgium or a Hotel in Singapore, Hard Rock’s memorabilia designers spend months working on a single location. We talked with memorabilia designer David Holle about this process. [more]

The first thing a memorabilia designer takes into consideration when planning a new location is just that: the location. Take, for example, the newly relocated Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans. New Orleans is, arguably, America’s most prominent and storied music city, so pulling inspiration from its traditions and its musicians was a natural place for David to start thinking about his designs. The next thing David does is look at the space, the layout of the property and the individual rooms, halls, and spaces within the Cafe or Hotel. David will then start with the larger pieces (instruments and clothing) of memorabilia he knows will be going into the location. He thinks about the flow and the feel of each piece relative to pieces near it. This relativity could be the similarities in the pieces (two stage costumes, for example) or music styles of the musicians represented or the cities from which the musicians hail. After the “big” pieces are set, David designs around them, adding letters, photos, concert posters, and gold records to the mix, to tell the story of that property.

Once the placement of every piece is set, David designs the framing for each piece, then sends them to the framer. Once there, it can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for the memorabilia to be framed, then sent back to Hard Rock and readied for their final shipment to the Cafe or Hotel. From there, the designer travels to the property and works with installers to realize his initial design and get everything set. It doesn’t always run smoothly, but everyone rolls with the punches and is always prepared for unexpected circumstances, whether its a TV placed where it wasn’t expected or a large empty space on a wall that wasn’t included in the initial designs.

All told, David will work anywhere from 9-14 weeks on a single property. As well, he’s usually juggling 4-5 projects at a time, including designing memorabilia displays for events like Hard Rock Calling in London or our traveling memorabilia tours or one-off special events. Before it even opens its doors, there are so many things that go into each and every Hard Rock property, but it is through the dedication and spot-on aesthetics of our memorabilia designers that Hard Rock’s look and feel truly shines.

Below, you can check out some of the pre-opening photos David took at the new Hard Rock Cafe New Orleans.

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