text by SHANI SILVER photos courtesy of THE BROOKLYN A HOTEL
If the search for a good Airbnb in Brooklyn is proving exhausting, give it a rest. And give yourself a rest at The Brooklyn, A Hotel. This brand new Bed Stuy/Crown Heights boutique stay is the easy choice when you’re hoping for a space outside of Manhattan, with plenty of style and neighborhood reverence. Designed by Marcela Caycedo, principal at Espacios Design Studio, The Brooklyn makes a strong design statement full of color and depth, certain to become the new go-to stay in this bustling borough.
WHAT INSPIRED THE DECOR AT “THE BROOKLYN”? The inspiration came from Brooklyn’s rich history, so the intention was to educate guests about Brooklyn while highlighting the industrial aspect of the building because industrialism was a big part of Brooklyn’s history.
WHAT WERE THE DESIGN GOALS FOR THE SPACE? There always are many challenges when dealing with an existing building, and it is at that point, that solving a challenge becomes a goal. Then imagine there were a lot of goals in this project, one per area, one per floor, one per room. However, I think the most important and biggest goal was to provide a hotel with interiors that would give guests the feeling of being in an oasis while providing peace from a busy neighborhood, but honoring the same neighborhood. At the end, the entire hotel achieved its goal and a guest will be able to have that feeling as soon as he or she steps into the lobby.
HOW WAS THIS LOCATION CHOSEN FOR THE HOTEL? The ownership owned the former warehouse for some time, and opted to invest in the re-development of the building as a hotel given the proximity to not only the Crown Heights/Bedstuy area, but also to the tremendous growth occurring around the Barclay’s Center. Being only a mile a half from the venue, they saw the opportunity to invest in a hotel in a unique location ahead of its time, and to establish a foothold in the lodging industry. Brooklyn has seen growth in boutique hotels, and their vision to retain the architecture of the neighborhood and deliver a high end hotel product helps establish the property early in the growth, and is a testament to the commitment to keep Brooklyn unique and not transform into another Manhattan type location.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT IN THE SPACE? My favorite design element is the feature wall in the guestrooms. I am a very curious person and I always want to know more. So with this idea in mind I wanted to teach guests about Brooklyn so there is more meaning to their stay in this hotel. That’s why there is an image of a Brooklyn neighborhood with a brief description that gives more information about that particular area and some fun facts.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF THIS PROJECT? I had a lot of fun curating the pictures for the guest room’s feature wall. It was a long process but I got to meet Brian Merlis from Brooklyn Pix who was a very knowledgeable and helpful guy. I spent a whole day going through all his pictures, of all kinds from every neighborhood. The idea was to showcase the buildings or landscape and the team didn’t want to have people in the pictures so it took us a long time to find the right picture for each room. But in the process I was able to see what Brooklyn used to be like and it was an amazing experience.
WHO SHOULD STAY AT “THE BROOKLYN”? Leisure, business travelers, and families looking for an authentic Brooklyn experience.
WHAT DESIGN ELEMENTS USED HERE SHOULD OUR READERS TRY FOR THEMSELVES AT HOME? There are two design elements that I use a lot: texture and color. However they must be combined with a design principle: contrast. I like to focus on those because when they’re played together they get people’s attention. I believe we’re constantly learning from what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell, and those are the experiences that survive in our memory. I’m a very curious person and when I see something new I want to touch it and feel it so I can remember it with more than one sense. So if there is a particular memory you would like your guests to remember then play with texture so they won’t forget it. For example, if there is a special painting that the reader wants guests to admire, then make sure your wall has some texture so people would want to approach and touch it. It is the same with color because it can be very soothing, earthy and calm or it can be shocking, explosive and intense. So if the reader wants to use color then I highly suggest to look at nature and take some pictures, during the day and night. Then take the picture that gets most of the attention and use the colors from there. Nature was perfectly created in a balanced scheme, so let nature guide the reader through the process.
MARCELA CAYCEDO, ASID NCIDQ NYCID Certified Interior Designer