In 1886, Alice Blake became the first woman to graduate from Yale University. The trailblazer, who died before her 30th birthday, serves as the namesake of The Blake Hotel, a 108-room, new-build boutique concept in the heart of New Haven, Connecticut, just a block from the Yale campus. A stately design from London-based Alexander Waterworth Interiors and Rockville, Maryland-based HVS Design reflects the influence of academia in its balance of simple and complex design solutions.
“While the Blake is a new build, the close proximity to the historic area created a need to bridge the gap between the modern and the old,” says HVS principal Christine Shanahan. “The team worked to create touch points throughout that nod to a storied past while blending design elements from midcentury and beyond.”
The lobby “has something for everyone,” he points out, thanks to a soothing palette and rich materials, defined by millwork, leather upholstery, concrete flooring, and blackened steel accents. Eclectic seating nooks “evoke a series of fantastic living rooms: light, bright, and warm,” he says, creating a sense of curated comfort. Still, it’s the cozy, yet dramatic fireplace that adds a moment of gravitas to the New England enclave. Surrounded by expansive library shelves, books, artwork, and collectibles firmly root the property in its location. “We ultimately sought to blend character with comfort, preserving openness while collecting pieces for an overall eclectic feel,” notes Waterworth. “Academia has a significant place in the language of the design as simple ideas blend with complex features.”
Hamilton Park restaurant “shares a familial connection” with the lobby, he says. The interior is anchored by a palette of blue and tan leather, while clean brass tones and crisp, off-white ceramic tiling weaves in the hotel’s modern sensibility. Likewise, full-height windows flood the space with natural light, amplifying the rich red, orange, and pink tones of a stained glass divider.
Taking inspiration from urban pieds-à-terre, the spacious guestrooms (perfect for short-term sojourns or longterm stays) are “a place you want to come home to,” he says. Here, rust-colored velvet seating, dramatic upholstered headboards, and furnishings in dark walnut and mahogany mimic the wood tones in the lobby while providing a more hushed and inviting aesthetic.
“Visitors must feel truly involved with their surroundings both mentally and physically, gaining a sense of comfort and relief from the outside world,” Waterworth adds. “The more senses that we can positively engage with the better we feel our job has been done.”
From: Hospitality Design