TIME Magazine Names the Shed and a Damien Hirst-Designed Las Vegas Hotel Suite as Among the World’s ‘Greatest Places’

TIME magazine released its second annual list of the World’s Greatest Places today—a globe-spanning collection of 100 new or newly-relevant museums, parks, restaurants, hotels, and other destinations. Among the cultural institutions to make the cut: the V&A Dundee in Scotland, the Museum of Black Civilizations in Senegal, and… that $200,000-a-weekend Vegas hotel suite designed by Damien Hirst. 

To formulate the list, TIME gathered nominations from staff members, writers, and ”industry professionals,” before winnowing down a list of locations based on factors like “quality, originality, sustainability, innovation, and influence,” according to an explanation accompanying the feature.

“How does one measure the greatness of a place—in miles covered, dollars spent, or visitors captivated?” the methodology muses. “Such metrics can play a part, but also important is something that many travelers aspire to experience: the sense that one has stumbled upon the extraordinary.”

V&A Dundee alongside the Discovery. Copyright Hufton+Crow.

The resulting index of Greatest Places brings together its fair share of actually “extraordinary” classics and also a few out-and-out head-scratchers. 

Definite highlights from the art spaces included are the V&A Dundee in Scotland, the National Museum of Qatar in Doha, and the Helsinki Central Library Oodi—all of which are considered to be world-class institutions.

The Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a charming cultural center located in a former cooking-oil factory in Havana, is a nice surprise, as is the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Senegal. Both represent welcome counterpoints to the big-budget glass-and-steel behemoths that usually place on lists like these. 

Tokyo’s Mori Building Digital Art Museum, the first such institution to focus solely on art of the ones and zeros variety, has been a huge hit since it debuted in June of 2018. As such, it very much seems to deserve its spot on a Greatest Places list. Ruby City, San Antonio’s new museum designed by David Adjaye, doesn’t open until October, so it’s hard to give final judgment yet, but it certainly seems potentially extraordinary at the least.

The Shed in Hudson Yards. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The Shed in Hudson Yards. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

One of the newest inclusions on the TIME list is The Shed, the hybrid multi-use art space designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro that debuted in April in New York. The magazine praises the non-profit institution for providing New Yorkers with experimental art at an affordable price, though it also describes the surrounding Hudson Yards development as a “symbol of wealth inequality in a city where rising rents can price out low-income residents,” which would seem to push it over into Not-So-Great-Place territory.

The Shed also seems an odd choice for Greatest Place in that its theatrical attractions mashing together different genres, so far, have received mixed to breath-takingly negative reviews. The venue has mainly been in the news lately as New York Fashion Week participants boycott it over Hudson Yards developer Stephen Ross’s fundraising efforts on behalf of president Donald Trump.

Also making TIME‘s “Greatest Places” cut is the Damien Hirst-designed Empathy Suite at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The 9,000-square-foot, two-story suite comes with a cantilevered swimming pool, a Himalayan salt room, 24-hour butler service, and a selection of Hirst’s own artwork to bask in. Two nights at Hirst’s hotel room will run you an extraordinary $200,000. (Did someone mention the words “symbol of wealth inequality”?)

Finally, another odd choice for the Greatest Places is the Newseum in Washington, DC, which has been around for 11 years but announced in January that it would be closing by the end of the year. “Some places you see because they’re new,” TIME philosophizes, “others you visit before they’re gone. “

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