London-based architecture firm Michaelis Boyd has designed The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn’s homonymous neighborhood. Located at the prime corner of Wythe Avenue and North 10th Street, Brooklyn, New York, the hotel has been designed as an after-dark hub with a restaurant, rooftop pool, the neighbourhood’s first grand ballroom, and three distinct bars, including one in a replica water tower built to pay homage to the block’s historic, now defunct, wooden water tower factory.
The Williamsburg’s richly tiled-and-textured guestrooms and cosy lobby bar are now open, and the restaurant, rooftop pool, water tower bar, and grand ballroom will open in the summer. In keeping with its neighbourhood, The Williamsburg Hotel has an industrial facade with a creative underbelly. Michaelis Boyd have designed a scheme that features a brick, glass and Corten steel exterior. The interiors feature sophisticated double-height ceilings and natural finishes throughout. Each room at the hotel features a range of bespoke furniture designed by Michaelis Boyd in collaboration with the London based Bill Amberg studio, which is known for pushing the boundaries of leather-working in new directions.
The Williamsburg Hotel is designed to be a destination centre of creativity, and local artists have been commissioned to create unique works for different areas within the building. The hotel entrance leads guests down a dramatic, cascading external terrace into the cellar floor level in the heart of the hotel. The terrace is heavily planted, with architectural lighting to highlight the organic shape of curved concrete banquettes. The banquettes are covered in soft bohemian cushions to create a vibrant and yet relaxed atmosphere for warm summer nights. Local artists were commissioned to provide colourful artwork on the brick walls surrounding the terrace.
The reception is tucked away to the left of the cellar floor, brightly lit with neon signs and colourful knitted textiles, and a shop full of quirky artefacts. Other design highlights include custom toile-inspired wallpaper designed by Beastie Boy Mike Diamond featuring quintessential Brooklyn scenes. A striking bar dominates the cellar floor. Created from antique picture frames laid in a chevron pattern, the bar includes a vibrant installation made up of thousands of coloured threads designed by a local street artist Eric Rieger. The bar is flanked with cosy seating areas, luxurious banquettes and armchairs, and a large fireplace in one corner.
The guestrooms start on the 2nd floor, each room having floor-to-ceiling windows framing views of Manhattan as well as Brooklyn and the East River. Many of the rooms feature private balconies and each room is unique – some have whitewashed timber panelled walls, whereas others have a dark grey distressed plaster finishes, with bespoke leather, brass, marble, and textured details. Some rooms have glazed screens to the bathrooms, opening up the bathrooms to the views while others are more private.
Opening later in 2017, an incredible ornate ballroom has been designed with 30-foot ceilings that can accommodate 400 guests. The 3,500 square foot space is surrounded by tall steel arched windows and distressed plastered walls. Each of the windows are lit from behind to give a sense of daylight, with luxurious velvet drapes across the front of each opening. The idea is to reflect the derelict buildings of Detroit but adding in a modern insertion. The bright red modern elements of the perimeter catwalk and sweeping staircases and the extravagant bright red chandeliers lift the whole space to create a unique backdrop for any wedding, concert or fashion show.
This Summer, the entire rooftop of The Williamsburg Hotel will open up to reveal a 40-foot outdoor pool, landscaped roof garden, café and the Watertower Bar. The Watertower Bar, designed to look like the traditional water towers that dot the New York skyline, is set to be an iconic bar overlooking Brooklyn’s skyline. It will be constructed of charred timber boards externally and steel panels internally, and will incorporate a series of coloured glazed panels to bring in shards of coloured light into this double height space. The bar will have large, glazed openings around the perimeter of the ground floor, raised 136 feet above Williamsburg with panoramic views of Manhattan.
all images © Annie Schlecter