The 165 guestrooms are moodier with contrasting grays and walnut. In addition to Breuer’s iconic Cesca chairs that have been upholstered with fabric by Anni Albers, a renowned Bauhaus textile artist, each room features custom-designed furniture by Dutch East Design. Among other pieces, they created an interlocking modular system for storage and sculptural nightstands that demonstrate a counterbalance of playfulness to the building’s rigidity. The rooms’ hard lines are further softened by certified organic cotton linens and textile art by Cory Emma Siegler, whose geometric patterns are another homage to the legacy of Bauhaus. The Bauhaus modernist vibes really come alive on the eighth floor, where the original executive suites have been turned into the hotel’s largest rooms. Those that are Eastern-facing have sweeping waterfront views, while those to the west overlook the New Haven skyline. A lighter palette prevails and there’s plenty of space for plush couches, kitchenettes and, in some rooms, soaking tubs.
More than eco-savvy, the space is a study of midcentury reverence. Dutch East Design, a Brooklyn-based studio that was tapped for the interiors, managed a brilliant balance of honoring the building’s brutalist heritage while giving it new life. “We decided it needed to be very human and warm and soft,” says partner Larah Moravek of starting the project. “I always say it’s like this soft underbelly to this really strong exoskeleton.” For the public spaces—the restaurant, bar, sunken lounge that’s a nod to Breuer, and over 7,000 square feet of meeting rooms that can be used for dinners, weddings or, why not, conferences on sustainability—that meant a lighter material palette of Travertine, oak, and terra cotta tiles.
At Hotel Marcel, they call it “hospitality for the planet.” Lighting is low-voltage LED technology. BLDG, the in-house restaurant, uses induction cooking for its clever menu featuring items like Haus egg sandwiches and cauliflower tacos. Guests can plug into 12 Tesla superchargers, or two universal EV charging stations, and there are a dozen more on the way. For those who don’t have a car, an electric 14-person shuttle is at their service. The building generates at least as much energy as it consumes. And then there’s the fact that the brutalist structure, built in 1969 as the headquarters and research labs for the Armstrong Rubber Company, was recycled to begin with. “The actual act of building has a bigger carbon footprint than operating it over its lifetime.” Becker explains. Since the hotel was also complying with standards to be a certified historic structure—not to mention to attain LEED Platinum certification and be the first hotel in the U.S. designed to Passive House standards—the team repurposed as much as they could, from the parquet panels lining the elevator walls to the light fixtures in the interconnecting ceiling tiles to the 525 windows that are now triple glazed and encased with custom hardwood surrounds made by Stickley Furniture, based nearby in New York.
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