Bfore the 21-story William Vale hotel opened its doors, the corner of Wythe Avenue and North 12th Street in North Williamsburg was the site of several nondescript, low-slung factory buildings. Over the last decade, the commercial area has been redefined and rezoned through ongoing remediation.
“Grand splendor and contemporary chic” were the key design points conveyed to the artisans at domestic manufacturer 2nd Ave Lighting, headquartered in Upstate New York, when creating custom architectural lighting fixtures for the project.
The 183-room hotel project was championed by Benzi Herbst, Purchasing Executive of Riverside Developers USA, a building and development firm based in Brooklyn. Designed by Aldo Lamberis, the multi-use building boasts unparalleled views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines and is visually anchored by landscape design from Gunn Landscape Architecture.
One of the most notable design attributes on the grounds is its 60-foot pool – reportedly the longest outdoor hotel swimming pool in New York City. With the assistance of naval architects and engineers that developed the technology, The William Vale filters 600,000 gallons of water daily from the nearby East River through the plus sign-shaped pool before it is redistributed back into the waterway.
Fortunately for guests, the hotel’s interior design – by the renowned Toronto design firm Studio Munge – is equally stunning. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, company principal Alessandro Munge’s global perspective, inquisitive nature, and quest for the perfect solution has propelled Studio Munge onto the international stage with a global roster of top hospitality brands, luxury residential developers, and architects.
“The developers and design partners were all aligned; The William Vale had to represent a new generation of thinking and showcase the very best Brooklyn had to offer,” says Maxime Bocken, Creative Brand Director for Studio Munge. “To infuse the brave new build with the soul and passion Williamsburg is known for, we commissioned highly qualified Brooklyn based artists, craftsmen, and manufacturers such as 2nd Ave Lighting. By doing so, we challenged and empowered the local community to create history rather than to unauthentically attempt to mirror the iconic warehouse surroundings. Thus, The William Vale was born.”
From custom metalwork details in the guest rooms to the signature style of hospitality, The William Vale is a stand-out from top to bottom. For example, the monochromatic white marble lobby is colorfully punctuated by “Mannahatta,” an enormous 20′ x 25′ permanent sculptural installation by Mexican artist Marela Zacarías.
The top of the building offers a breathtaking view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines from its 15,000-sq.-ft. rooftop space that includes a restaurant and bar. Highlighting the bar is a nearly 24-foot Grand Mur stained glass room divider, created by 2nd Ave artisans to resemble a geometrically shaped, abstract Expressionist piece of art. The colorful room divider bridges the décor in this large modern space with a design that provides visual appeal and glamour. Employing an Azure palette, the Grand Mur sculptural mosaic boasts a style that is as rich and dramatic as the hotel’s architecture and artistry.
Adding further distinction to the rooftop bar is a 24-inch Spaccato pendant made by 2nd Ave. It is comprised of a unique aluminum shade with a cut-away profile that reveals an Industrial sensibility with a Matte Black finish on the exterior and an Antique Copper finish inside for a Contemporary look. A counterbalanced arm suspended from the ceiling support helps deliver ambient illumination from a white glass globe diffuser.
Inside the rooftop restaurant are additional 2nd Ave lighting fixtures. The bespoke Grand Illumina Bola chandelier spans 34.25 feet and has milk white orb diffusers and a highly polished appearance in a modern mix of glass and steel for a cross-disciplinary culture of Mid Century Modern design. The Isotope chandelier, measuring 7′ high x 18′ wide, also illuminates the rooftop restaurant and lends a Modern Industrial Meets Architectural type of aesthetic vibe.
Adding distinction to the interior of the Presidential Suite is the 27.5”-wide Conglomerate chandelier, featuring 12 hollow conduits of structural steel and architectural glass that gives a nod to the Industrial era. Made by 2nd Ave artisans for the project and connected by rail-style cable, it offers a touch of Art Deco charm while offering customizable elements for unlimited creativity and visual identity.
“The balance between physics and art is what you experience as soon as you enter The William Vale,” explains Max Cohen, Director/Hospitality Marketing for 2nd Ave Lighting. “Creating such large-scale fixtures and maintaining delicate, yet sharp, features can pose a variety of design challenges. Studio Munge provided next generation ideas and we provided the precision engineering, skilled craftsmanship, and innovative manufacturing to make these breathtaking luminaires and decor a reality. It is an honor to be included in this groundbreaking project.”