Posted in Projects on 30 May, 2023

The exciting and playful Moxy brand has added yet another feather to its ever-evolving cap with the opening of its vibrant and dynamic Williamsburg property. SPACE visited to see how Lightstone Design Studio, in collaboration with BASILE Studio, captured the creative and neighbourhood-driven spirit of this eclectic New York borough in the hotel’s interior design.

It’s always been the Moxy group’s mantra to incorporate the look and feel of the location where their hotels find themselves in, and we’re glad to see that it’s no different at the newly opened Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg. Welcoming its first guests in March this year, the 216-room property is the fifth Moxy to open in New York, following the huge success of the Moxy NYC Lower East Side which entered the scene in October last year.

With the help of New York-based interior design agency Lightstone Design Studio and architects Stonehill Taylor, Williamsburg’s cool, edgy, and community-driven vibe is brought to life. California-based interior design practice BASILE Studio – whose signature mechatronic architecture approach strategically integrates technology into the design when it engages users or enhances their overall sensory experience – assisted with the F&B outlets in collaboration with Bar Lab Hospitality.

“Williamsburg is a flourishing hub for all the creativity and innovation for which New York is known,” says developer Mitchell Hochberg, President of Lightstone. “As its international reputation has blossomed, it has become the place to visit and stay. Our ambition with Moxy Williamsburg was to create a hotel that welcomes visitors with an authentic experience –one that Brooklynites themselves will embrace with open arms.” 

And embraced it they have. Let’s start with the lobby, where you enter through gigantic floor-to-ceiling black-framed industrial doors into a double-spaced room. Mike Hoover, the General Manager of Moxy Williamsburg, told us that the decision to have large windows fronting the hotel was an intentional one. “We want the Williamsburg locals to feel welcomed into the space as this property is part of the neighbourhood,” he explains. “The area is inviting and open and is giving back to the community.”

The first thing that grabs your attention is the huge mural that sits behind the two blackened steel check-in pods spanning up the walls and across the ceiling, giving you the effect of a hanging canopy. Made up of thousands of individual crayons, it depicts a sunset view of New York, seen from the underbelly of the Williamsburg Bridge. Art is a key part of the hotel’s design story, reflecting the artistic heritage of the neighbourhood. From the wall-mounted giant blue ice cream which appears to melt while spelling out the words ‘the drip’ (a reference to what the people of Brooklyn call a city suit), to the hand-painted skateboards hanging on the wall (a nod to Brooklyn’s iconic skate culture), the pieces feel original and at home.

To the right is the lobby bar, aptly named Bar Bedford after the hotel’s street name Bedford Avenue, where guests can transition with the atmosphere as the day plays out. In the morning, the hotel’s casual breakfast of classic NY bagels and pastries is served here alongside coffee and freshly pressed juices. With the coffee machines still whirring away, locals and their remote working set-ups appear, keeping the buzz strong and steady from day till night. With a communal table, comfy lounge furniture and individual chairs and tables, it’s a relaxing space to think, co-work and be creative. But it’s not all work and no play – in the evening the space is yet again transformed, this time into a low-lit atmospheric bar where cocktail hour is sacred, and the music is blaring. A DJ deck on show hints at what’s occurring come the weekend.

BASILE Studio’s signature sensory touches are seen throughout, perhaps most notably through the interactive bar backdrop. At first glance, it looks like a classic drinks cabinet full of bottles ready for consumption, but come nightfall, the caged shelves turn into constantly moving dumbwaiters, squeaking and jangling all night. The sound of the motorised liquor risers made of blackened metal is reminiscent of Williamsburg itself – a bustling place infused with the noise of trains, traffic, factories, and people. The mechanics of it, meanwhile, is a nod to New York’s old Automats – fast food restaurants popular in the first half of the 20th century where customers would pick up their food from a wall of glass-fronted cubbies.

Enormous wooden chandeliers, comfy sofas and giant patterned rugs provide a residential feel – an atmosphere that is also present in the dynamic meeting spaces that are tucked behind the bar. Just as with Bar Bedford, these spaces can transform from being an interactive meeting room during the day, to become an extension of the cocktail bar at night. The multipurpose area has convertible furniture and closing wall functions to be transformed and rearranged as needed. As if that wasn’t enough, this space also looks over an encased garden (making it fully usable throughout the year), which speaks a similar design language as the lobby.

Beyond Bar Bedford, with an additional separate entrance for non-hotel guests, is the hotel’s restaurant, Mesiba. Meaning “party” in Hebrew, the restaurant has a distinct Tel Aviv inspiration both in aesthetics and food, with an emphasis on celebrating life and having fun. When entering from the street, you are immediately greeted by a striking curved green marble bar with orange veining, encouraging you to enjoy a cocktail before sitting down for your meal. The space benefits from double-height ceilings, but they are brought down by foliage-lined edges and caged lighting. There’s plenty of curved banquette seating encased by lit-up narrow panelling, which provides texture while also drawing you in with excitement. These lights help bring ambience at night, while the same floor-to-ceiling windows as seen in Bar Bedford flood the room with natural light during the day. As a homage to Bauhaus architecture, it really does the job.

Rich details provide a feast for the eyes, but with neutral tones at its core, it’s not busy. The restaurant feels unique and like its own entity, but the colour palette connects it with Bar Bedford in a seamless way. That’s not the only thing connecting the two spaces though; three large oval-shaped openings sit in a row across the connecting wall, giving guests a peek between the separate outlets. At first glance, you think they are framed mirrors, but on closer inspection, you see they are windows – a clever illusion that only adds to the atmosphere.

The party doesn’t stop there though. Carry on through to the back of the hotel, where the Joleen sound room resides. The designers have very intentionally avoided the sleek Manhattan nightclub feel, and instead chosen a distinctly Williamsburg warehouse aesthetic. Think grimy, think underground, think strobe lights cutting through the dark to the beat of the music.

Completing the F&B outlets at this Moxy is the LilliStar rooftop, which offers unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline – it really is the best view in this part of town. The vibe is Indo-Australian with all the laid-back associations that come to mind – we’re talking playful design details, beachy colours, rattan furniture, and fresh lighting. Stand-out features include giant copper-clad lotus flower ceiling lamps with leather tassels, and tiki-esque palm-shaped balsa wood chairs. The view, enjoyed both through giant windows inside and a wide outdoor terrace, works its magic at all hours of the day and really is the finishing touch.

Last but not least, let’s discuss the bedrooms, which really champion relaxation and practicality. Smart design solutions make the guest bedrooms highly functional while feeling indulgent. New York is notoriously limited in space, so how do you make sure you fit as many rooms as possible into an 11-storey building without compromising on comfort? At Moxy Williamsburg, the answer comes down to a clever yet intuitive use of space. Each room utilises the usually dead under-bed space as storage (and don’t for a second think that’s at the expense of the comfiness of the mattress, the bed offers a sublime night’s sleep), and also includes Moxy’s signature wall peg system for hanging clothes, as well as foldable desks. Additionally, keeping the ceilings high and offering great views through floor-to-ceiling windows has made the rooms feel spacious and generous. To maximise on space, the WC and walk-in showers are separated, and the sink is placed in the room itself. In contrast to the utility aesthetic throughout, the sink is composed of glazed lava stone, making it a striking design feature. Elsewhere, organic materials such as birch and steel finish the rooms.

Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg really feels like a neighbourhood hotel and should be celebrated as a homage to its location. Though at its core, the hotel is a triumph of design that marries functionality, interesting interiors, and pure comfort. The building’s southern façade is distinguished by a massive Pop Art–style mural by acclaimed British street artist D*Face. Visible from the Williamsburg Bridge, it depicts a woman in a car, stuck in traffic, crying out: “GET ME TO THE MOXY!!” We couldn’t agree more – go there! Now!

At a glance

Owner: Lightstone
Operator: Marriot Bonvoy
Architecture: Stonehill Taylor
Interior design: Lightstone Design Studio, BASILE Studio
F&B concepts: Bar Lab Hospitality
Keys: 216


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