Time in the hotel : gazing with lobby lizards
Faculty of Arts. History
Interiors : design, architecture, culture. - Oxford
, p. 138-156
University of Antwerp
From the late nineteenth century on, hotels became vertical cities, constantly mixing a personal, illusive sphere with sheer anonymity. In the hotel lobby, a fleeting place-for-passing-through, the muzak never stopped while, day in and day out, new guests got their room number at the front desk. Only those sitting in the lobby chairs, the so-called "lobby lizards," could form pockets of resistance. While their direct surrounding morphed into a whirlpool of ephemeral events, they were frozen in what seemed to be an endless moment of waiting. Besides that, their habitat, the lobby interior, often was made up of diverse historical building styles. How did the lobby lizards perceive the co-existence of all these types of time? And which regimes of temporality did the hotel management install in the lobby? Were historical wall paintings an option or were timetables indicating the arrival and departure of trains far more essential? By analyzing the memoirs, novels and diaries of lobby lizards, this article offers an answer. It demonstrates how multifarious temporal narratives were produced in the lobby interior and how they could intersect.