New York City is probably one of the only cities where you can fully gage the culture of an establishment by its doorman and lobby aesthetic. Some lobbies emanate austerity and opulence. Some signal power and exclusivity. Others invite you in with a warm embrace.
The lobby in Williamsburg’s 420 Kent stopped me in my tracks with its lush and light-filled space. Cold air washed over my sweat coated body as I inhaled eucalyptus sweetened with musk. Abstract sculptures littered tastefully across the foyer. Their weight balanced against the lightness of waltzing shadows casted through metal arches.
Behind a wreath of bonsai branches, cherry blossoms, and origami, a doorwoman stood alertly with a bun pinned elegantly at the nape of her neck.
Her sharp eyes melted into softened creases, as she smiled at my wide-eyed gawking. Just beyond her stood a wall of ivy, its tilt luring my eyes towards an unruly garden encased in a glass cube. In its center, a metal staircase swirled vertically into the heavens.
It was precisely this culmination of sensory euphoria that compelled me to explore further.
Throughout the day I began to uncover more pockets of thoughtfully designed public space for its tenants: a manicured japanese garden spilling into the ocean, warmly-lit workspaces with oak accents, and corner nooks overlooking the Williamsburg bridge. Japanese elements interplayed cozyily with Scandanavian design, modern yet warm, quiet yet bold.
The intention of the spaces were self-evident: inviting, communal, and decadently green in contrast to the concrete jungle across the shore.