A Brooklyn Hotel Where the Vibe Is: Robert Bechtle Painting

SAVVY Studio referenced the photorealist's nostalgic midcentury vignettes when designing Gowanus Inn & Yard.

A guestroom at the Gowanus Inn & Yard.

Thanks to its less-than-euphonious name and its location—by a rather filthy canal—Gowanus was long considered a kind of ugly duckling of Brooklyn. But it’s slowly been shedding some of that awkwardness, with a series of new hospitality projects cropping up in its center. The most significant of late is Gowanus Inn & Yard, designed by New York-Mexico City SAVVY Studio. The 76-room hotel’s raven-toned exterior (built on a former parking lot) blends nimbly into the surrounding industrial streetscape. That raw, spare aesthetic continues inside in the rooms, which cleverly conjure the illusion of extra space via large windows and mirrors, and expansive drawers built into the platform bed; matching oak ceilings and floors add warmth to the otherwise mostly monochrome palette. On the top floor, the four suites are framed in wood with poured-concrete floors, accented by black oak furniture and classic red wool club chairs.

The lobby lounge.

“The aim isn’t actually for people to spend time in their rooms,” says Pablo Limón, SAVVY’s architecture director. Instead, guests are encouraged to make use of the ample public areas—an airy lobby lounge and soon-to-open restaurant, bar, café and rooftop bar. Custom furniture by Limón’s other practice, Pablo Limón Design Office, rounds out the spaces, as well as several pieces from the two studios’ PL:VV project, which launched last year at Mexico Design Week.

“We were very much inspired by Brutalism, but also Americana and the work of Robert Bechtle,” says Savvy’s creative director Rafael Prieto, referencing the photorealist painter famous for his depictions of middle-class life in the U.S. since the 1950s. “We wanted to embrace the general feeling of the neighborhood—the industrial feel, the factories, the gas stations, the artists—and really acknowledge the history and what’s happening here. Instead of making something super-sophisticated, we wanted something that was straightforward, simple, and real.”

Custom seating by Pablo Limón Design Office.
The reception.
Small details make a big impact inside the spare interiors.
The contextual exterior suits industrial Gowanus, Brooklyn.
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