Every since I watched the BBC series “How Buildings Learn” I can’t stop classifying buildings into the following 2 categories: those that adapt very well to new situations, and those that become old and broken too quickly. In one of the episodes it shows the classic example of old factories that got converted to artists’ studios and then fancy lofts.
Factories, with their open floor plans and quality structure, adapt fairly well to changes. So did the 1901-built cooperage on Brooklyn’s waterfront, which now houses the gorgeous Wythe Hotel. Since May, hipsters and friends finally have a place to stay in Williamsburg, and not just Manhattan. The founders, Andrew Tarlow and Jed Walentas, have managed to design and build a unique 72-room hotel by preserving what was already there, inviting in local talent, and, with a keen eye for detail.
The building’s unique industrial character has been carefully preserved and is now showing off to locals and visitors alike: the concave corner entrance, 13’ high original timber ceilings, masonry, oversized arched windows, cast-iron columns and the original metal railings used to transporting barrels around the factory.
The neon hotel sign is made by local artist Tom Fruin from reclaimed metal signs.
The wood found in the cooperage was used to make some of the furniture for the hotel, like the custom made beds by Dave Hollier Woodwork and Design (DHWWD) above and desks below.
The vintage phones are Refurbished Cortelco 2500 Phones from Telespeed Communications, and I love the simple bright red cables next to the bed to hook up your iPhone or MP3 to the surround sound system. There is no cable mess or eClutter in the room, just wifi.
The custom wallpaper tells the story of the building and is locally hand-screened by Dan Funderburgh for Flavor Paper
I am not aware of any water or energy saving devices except for the radiant floor heating throughout the building.
The Goldies natural soap is Brooklyn-made and all mirrors are second hand. Each room has a mini bar but it’s nice to see that everything comes in full sized bottles (minimizing waste to some extent) and with house-made ice cream.
Last but not least is Reynard, the ground floor restaurant and bar with a wood-fired oven and grill, featuring seasonal food and cocktails, and the 6th floor bar where drinks taste even better amongst the stunning views.
A night in a bunk-bed room starts at $179, with the most precious rooms being priced $495. This is definitely a much hipper (and more expensive!) place than the eco-hotel Element at Times Square, but it is a shame that until now you have to choose between either green(er) or beautiful design. Let’s see how long it takes for NY to spit out a truly eco-friendly hotel that is also well-designed and possibly even affordable...