Iwan and Manuela Wirth’s latest offers an eclectic mix of eye-catching curiosities.
If you’re not yet convinced that maximalism is back, Iwan and Manuela Wirth are about to change your mind. Switzerland’s art-dealing power duo is giving the white-walled minimalist look of their Hauser & Wirth galleries a break and pivoting hard into the delightful world of color—and clutter—with their Scottish Highlands hotel, Fife Arms (thefifearms.com).
The Wirths first made their talent for eccentric country estates known a few years ago when they opened their six-room Durslade Farmhouse on the edge of the sleepy English village of Bruton. Their latest foray into hospitality (a soft opening was underway when Robb Report visited in December) lies within the heavy stone walls of the old Duke of Fife’s coaching inn, in the small Cairngorms town of Braemar. It’s an evolution of the couple’s penchant for the peculiar, where empty walls are anathema and every nook and cranny is crammed with eye candy: here, a stuffed stag perched atop a plinth; there, one of Picasso’s Musketeer paintings; overhead, an 1874 watercolor by Queen Victoria depicting the head of a deer shot by her Scottish attendant John Brown.