In its third collaboration for the Ace Hotel brand, Roman and Williams brings materiality and customization to the forefront.

Key features 

Working alongside the architects at Stonehill Taylor, Roman and Williams delivered both the interiors and façade for Ace Brooklyn. Known for their rejection of passing trends and their focus on character and craft, the designers of the New York studio worked with natural, tactile materials for the 13-storey project. The inherent aesthetic appeal of such materials and, in a nod to Brooklyn’s spirit, the craftspeople who hone them, are celebrated from the outset with a rough-hewn façade comprising metal, glass and precast concrete.  

With its bespoke ceramic mural by modernist sculptor Stan Bitters, the façade also establishes the project as a place for custom art collaborations, a promise fulfilled in the bar, where an original wall sculpture from RW Guild artist Verdan Jakšic and a large-scale drawing by Tara Geer await. The guest rooms also feature work by artists, which will be additionally showcased in The Gallery at Ace Brooklyn over the course of 2021. Home goods and jewellery from several of the artists will also be sold in The Ace Shop in the lobby. Roman and Williams likewise designed custom elements, including a sculptural light installation that pays homage to Tokyo’s Okura Hotel, a modernist Yoshiro Taniguchi-designed building that met its end in 2015. Specially made seating also features in the lobby alongside vintage finds.  

Roman and Williams founders Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch say they were guided by a ‘primitive modernist philosophy’ and the desire to employ ‘confident, lasting construction methods and materials, ones with gravity and strength’. This resulted in such moves as juxtaposing the building’s raw concrete construction with natural, tactile materials like Douglas fir, oak and leather in the interior. In essence, they sought to create a space as ‘energetic and untamed as Brooklyn itself’. 

Frame’s take 

If you’ve ever seen how Roman and Williams presents its design concepts, you’ll know its founders are sticklers for detail. They still render all their architectural presentation drawings by hand, producing visuals with a classic old-worldly charm. Indeed, this mood filters through to the final spaces at Ace Brooklyn, where every detail contributes to a holistic whole. Even the bed covers are custom designed (by Maine Heritage Weavers), highlighting a focus on creating and crafting that helps to root Ace Brooklyn in its makers-movement-driven location. The result should give visitors, too, a strong sense of place.