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Basile Studio enlivens Moxy Williamsburg hotel with plentiful public spaces

Hotel brand Moxy has opened its first outpost in Brooklyn, with plentiful gathering spaces including a bar with motorised 20-feet-tall liquor shelves and an eatery modelled on Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus architecture.

Californian hospitality design practice Basile Studio spearheaded the interior design of the 216-room hotel, set in the heart of Williamsburg on bustling Bedford Avenue.

The aim was for the design to reflect the area’s rich history and its eclectic inhabitants while creating a slew of public spaces for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Lobby of Moxy Williamsburg
Moxy Williamsburg’s public spaces include the lobby (above) and Jolene lounge (top)

“The design for Moxy Williamsburg was inspired by the neighbourhood’s history as a magnet for mavericks, immigrants and creators while taking its place at the centre of Brooklyn’s contemporary social scene,” Basile Studio‘s lead designer Ashley Evans told Dezeen.

“The hotel’s eclectic public spaces reflect the area’s melting pot character, finding inspiration in both past and present with influences from both near and far.”

Among the hotel’s communal spaces are several co-working studios with modular rearrangeable furnishings as well as four different dining and nightlife venues created in collaboration with Bar Lab – the hospitality company behind Miami’s famous Broken Shaker cocktail bar.

Bar Bedford by Basile Studio
Bar Bedford lies just off the lobby

“For Moxy Williamsburg, we envisioned an eclectic grab-bag of experiences that mirrors Williamsburg’s diversity,” said Bar Lab founders Elad Zvi and Gabe Orta. “Once you enter, you don’t want to leave.”

It is housed in an 11-storey building, designed by local studio Stonehill Taylor, which has a glass-fronted facade that opens completely onto the sidewalk of Bedford Avenue.

Guests enter via a lobby with exposed 20-foot ceilings, reminiscent of Brooklyn’s many converted warehouses.

Bar Bedford at Moxy hotel Brooklyn
The room is organised around a curved bar

On one side, custom timber joinery frames a small seating area with a built-in bench and a long planter, helping to soften the otherwise industrial space.

A monumental artwork by creative studio RareCulture presides over the hotel’s two blacked-steel check-in counters. Stretching up all the way across the ceiling, this shows a pointillist depiction of nearby Williamsburg Bridge formed from thousands of colourful crayons.

Immediately to the right lies Bar Bedford, which was designed to resemble a comfortable living space.

Mesiba restaurant interior by Basile Studio
Oblong windows connect the bar to the neighbouring Mesiba restaurant

“Our seating is miscellaneous and meant to feel warm and inviting, modular in the sense that we want to invite people to move around and get social,” Evans said.

The room’s centrepiece is a curved bar, which houses 1,500 bottles of wine and liquor inside a custom 20-foot-tall cabinet made from white oak and glass, with motorised shelves that move up and down like dumbwaiters.

Although designed largely for entertainment value, the system was actually modelled on New York’s historic automat restaurants.

Mesiba restaurant inside Moxy Williamsburg hotel
The restaurant features plentiful planting and leather-upholstered booths

“The automats, ubiquitous in New York in the first half of the 20th century, were fast food restaurants where customers would pick up their food from a wall of glass-fronted cubbies,” said Mitchell Hochberg, president of the hotel’s developer Lightstone.

“We thought it would be fun to take something that was iconically New York and introduce it into the design.”

Timber also features here in the form of the dramatic pendant lights – designed by Basil to resemble a giant nest of twigs – and the portals that provide a peek into the neighbouring Levantine restaurant Mesiba.

With its textured plasterwork, abundant greenery and curved seating booths upholstered in burgundy-red leather, the eatery was designed to reference the buildings of Tel Aviv.

“The curvilinear lines of Bauhaus architecture find echoes in the rounded bar overhang and the oblong wood-framed etched-glass windows that offer a glimpse into Bar Bedford,” Evans said.

“Travertine tabletops hearken back to Tel Aviv’s historic architecture, providing a striking contrast to the Bauhaus-influenced elements.”

Jolene club interior by Basile Studio
The hotel’s club has marquee-style lights integrated into its ceiling

Moxy Williamsburg has three co-working and meeting rooms that can be used independently or combined to host larger groups thanks to their modular furnishings.

After hours, the hotel also has its own club, named Jolene in homage to the iconic Dolly Parton song and outfitted with a sound system designed by DJ Nicolas Mater – the owner of infamous New York nightclubs Output and Cielo.

Informed by 70s interiors and mid-century recording studios, the space is lined with rows of integrated high-fidelity speakers and rectangular acoustical panels in shades of green and gray.

Rooftop Lilistar bar of Moxy Williamsburg hotel
The hotel also has a rooftop bar and terrace

Walnut, leather and fabric finishes ensure warm, resonant acoustics while hundreds of multicoloured, marquee-style lights that sync to the music are integrated into the ceiling.

Modular furniture, including floating banquettes and low semicircular armchairs, allows the space to act as a lounge, a club or something in between.

On the top floor, Basile Studio imbued the LiliStar rooftop bar with Balinese influences that can be seen in the hand-shaped timber chairs and the theatrical ceiling lights, which resemble giant lotus flowers carved from copper, glass and leather.

Hotel bedroom by Basile Studio
Custom birch wood joinery defines the guest rooms

“It’s much more playful here with an elevated tropical feel while, again, not being too literal,” Evans said. “We stuck to patterns and textures along with shelving inspired by shutters and exteriors of homes in Bali.”

The hotel’s 216 bedrooms are pared back and fitted with space-saving birchwood joinery such as collapsible desks and wall-mounted pegs, that guests can be folded away when they are no longer needed.

Moxy has recently completed a number of other outposts across the US. Among them is New York’s Lower East Side branch designed by Michaelis Boyd and another in Downtown Los Angeles by Yabu Pushelberg.

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