Built for Brooklyn

The new 1 Hotel outpost embraces the darker side of nature.

From its inception, 1 Hotels has set out to answer a single question: Can sustainability have a personality? Each of the hotels in the group responds to its environment while creating a sense of place all its own. The South Beach flagship is all Miami-monochromatic with its light, airy spaces, beauty salon, and cabana-lined rooftop pool. In Manhattan, the proximity to Central Park is reflected in an ivy-covered facade, tree-trunk lobby fixtures, and window-nook daybeds. Across the East River in Brooklyn, the third and newest location takes on the industrial patina of the borough’s ports and Navy Yard, even though it’s the first 1 Hotel built from the ground up. “The other properties show a happier, breezier side of nature,” says Waad el Hadidy, the Cairo-born designer who conceptualized the project with Kemper Hyers, Starwood Capital Group’s head of design, and Inc Architecture & Design. “This one shows a more expressive, darker side, and an awareness of humans’ impact on Earth.”

Yes, the industrial-Brooklyn look is exhausted, but it feels fresh here. The 10-story structure rises above Brooklyn Bridge Park just across the East River from Manhattan. Inside, raw concrete columns and an installation of rope-wrapped obsidian by local artist Rachel Mica Weiss welcome guests into the lobby, where seawater martinis are served as part of an inventive cocktail menu devised by Bedford and Bowery’s Arley Marks. Reclaimed wood flooring, sourced from upstate New York barns, and cratelike walls pair with vegetable-tanned leather furniture to add warmth to the soaring space. Custom furniture pieces by Brooklyn maker Uhuru come from the recently dismantled Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg. A showpiece 25-foot lattice of vines and broad-leafed ferns, designed by the landscape architecture firm Harrison Green, crawls up a wall; jumbo oxidized steel pendant lamps hang from the ceiling. The names of construction workers who built the property are even subtly written onto one of the walls. (Above the list reads one of Hadidy’s favorite quotes from poet Kahlil Gibran, “Work is love made visible.”)

Thanks to the trapezoidal layout, the 194 rooms, including suites ranging from two to six bedrooms, offer views of the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Keetsa hemp-blend mattress are backed by corrugated leather headboards. Floor-to-ceiling windows slide open to give the rooms an open-air quality. In select suites, guests may find hammocks strung from the ceiling or a Hurricane Sandy-inspired mural by Olivié Ponce, one of 10 local artists to contribute work to the project. “We wanted [the design and artworks] to embody the ingenuity typical of Brooklyn,” says Hadidy.

As with the brand’s other properties, conservation is at the hotel’s heart—and a bit in your face. Even coat hangers are stamped with reminders of their recycled contents, including such precious materials as love letters and maps. But the oversharing is forgivable given the context. (And it turns out a triple-filtered rainwater shower is actually pretty great.) The site-wide water reclamation system will help irrigate the park during the summer months, and everything at the hotel runs on wind power. Uber? No need with a chauffeured Tesla at the ready.

Later this spring, a 4,000-square-foot rooftop with a shallow pool along the south edge, tiered seating nooks, fire pits, and a full-service bar will debut. Guests can also hit the all-day café, Neighbors, to load up on picnic grub from local purveyors and head for the park.

One of the better outcomes of the skyscraper-ing of once low-rise Brooklyn has been new panoramic views of Manhattan. The dark, low-ceilinged lounge on the top floor, outfitted with a custom-cast silica bar by Brooklyn artist and furniture maker Fernando Mastrangelo, is the perfect aerie from which to take it in. At night, cars glimmer along Manhattan’s perimeter and stream over the bridge. But from this distance, all is silent.

(All Photos: Courtesy 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.)

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