Brand new Ace Hotel Brooklyn is entwined with fibre art

The Ace Hotel’s second New York outpost opens in Brooklyn with a programme of newly-commissioned textile art. We speak to curator and featured artist Niki Tsukamoto

 Ace Brooklyn hotel room, white walls, dark grey curtain, wooden sitting chair next to a white double bed, with wooden frame and side shelf, black spot lamp, colourful abstract artwork on wall over bed
Work by Caroline Kaufman installed in the new Ace Hotel Brooklyn as part of the inaugural in-room Textile and Fibre Art Programme. 
(Image credit: Stephen Kent Johnson)

Unlike its flamboyant older sibling in Manhattan, the brand new Ace Hotel Brooklyn exudes an understated, original charm: a home-from-home with all the trimmings, particularly when it comes to art. 

Behind its Roman and Williams and Stonehill Taylor-designed brutalist facade, and the cascading light fixture inspired by Tokyo’s Hotel Okura is a new in-room art programme that narrates the history of Brooklyn through fibre art. Inside the 287 guest rooms – inspired by the raw artist studio spaces of the European modernists – hangs the work of two dozen contemporary textile artists with deep ties to the district’s rich tapestry. 

Daytime exterior image of the new Ace Hotel Brooklyn, stone entrance walkway with spiral staircase, black metal frame with red hand rails, glass walls seeing into internal ground floor area, multiple hanging orange diamond shaped lights above the walkway, hotel sign lit up and lights under canopy, upper level glass windows

The brutalist exterior of the new Ace Hotel Brooklyn, designed by architects Roman and Williams in collaboration with Stonehill Taylor.

(Image credit: Stephen Kent Johnson)

But this festival of fibre art is far from confined to the guest rooms. In the hotel’s ground floor gallery space is a public exhibition by artist and designer Cynthia Alberto and Brooklyn based weaving studio and healing arts centre, Weaving Hand.

In September and October, the gallery will host a group show by the in-room art programme artists. In November, timed to NYC Design Week, the space will be taken over by Black Folks in Design, and the textile art series will reach its finale in December with an experimental show by the Textile Art Center. 

Textile and Fibre Art Programme on display at the Ace Hotel Brooklyn, wooden walls, with colourful artwork hung from black pegs on a wooden rail around the edge of the wall, white floor

Installation view of the Textile and Fibre Art Programme at the Ace Hotel Brooklyn. 

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

Ace commissioned longtime collaborator Niki Tsukamoto, an artist who also created original works for the guest rooms, to curate Ace’s fibre art project. We speak to Tsukamoto about weaving the threads of this project to life.

Wallpaper*: How was the project conceived and what inspired it?

Niki Tsukamoto: At the end of Summer 2019, Ace Hotel reached out, asking if I would be interested in curating fibre-based art for the in-room art program for a new hotel. I’ve been working in fibre for over 20 years and had been on hiatus from my curatorial work for a few years, so I was extremely interested in the project. When it was later revealed that the hotel was in Brooklyn I was ecstatic. I have so many dear friends living in Brooklyn, it's been my home away from home for the past 25 years and I love it dearly. That coupled with the opportunity to work with an incredible array of textile artists living and working there currently, the offer was almost too good to be true. 

Ace Brooklyn Hotel room, wooden double bed, cream cover and white sheet and pillows, dark grey/green carpet, grey rug under bed, tv on wooden unit stand with black perforated door design, rocking chair in the corner with striped coloured cushion covers, long dark grey curtains, black framed window, small round side table with brown shade and red standing lamp, white walls, grey marble effect ceiling, wooden ceiling lamp, black metal bedside lamps, artwork looking like large eyes over the bed, dark wood door open, black clothes rail at the far end of the room

Paige Martin. 

(Image credit: : Stephen Kent Johnson)

Wallpaper*: How were the artists selected for the Textile and Fibre Art Programme; were there any particular criteria? 

NT: Representing the community was of the utmost importance to me when approaching the initial curatorial concept. Rather than looking for cohesion in form or style, my main focus was on including an array of current working artists and telling the recent history of the fibre art movement in Brooklyn – the artists reflect a modern reality of New York, ranging from those locally born and raised to the somewhat new arrivals, artists with deep roots in community service and activism, as well as people who transition in and out of the city and carry with them lasting love for Brooklyn.

The varied styles of work are a clear reflection of the way the city influences and inspires people in such different ways. Beyond artists connected to the immediate community, we included certain artists in the program to provide much-needed humour, wit and levity that the Ace is known for. 

White wall, black curtain, wooden ceiling light with large white bulb shade, grey merble effect ceiling, circular grey based colourful textile artwork on the wall

Moira Quinn O'Neil. 

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

Wallpaper*: What do you hope the programme will offer guests of the Ace Brooklyn? 

NT: Having such a diverse group of artists creating such vastly different work offers a very different experience depending on the guest's room. When someone checks into their hotel room, they may experience a work filled with humour and wit or a piece whose meaning is embedded within colour and texture. The varied styles of work are also a clear reflection of the way the city influences and inspires people in such different ways.

I wanted the feeling of the community to permeate the hotel and connect from room to room, like a thread running up and through the building. I hope the program will also inspire and produce a sense of curiosity in the people staying in the hotel, which will lead them to learn more about the individual artists and fibre art as a whole.

Ace Brooklyn Hotel room, green/ grey carpet, long dark grey curtains, stripe cushion on a wooden rocking chair, wooden side table and lamp, large black framed window, wooden double bed, cream striped cover, white sheet and pillows, black metal bed side pull out lamps, grey rug under the bed, tapestry wall art over the bed, wooden ceiling light

Isa Rodrigues.

(Image credit: Stephen Kent Johnson)

Wallpaper*: What was the most enjoyable part of working with the artists and Ace Brooklyn on the project?

NT: The most enjoyable aspect of working on this project has without a doubt been being in a community with so many incredibly talented and inspiring people and building lasting relationships. It’s also been a dream to bring more attention to the artists' individual art practices and to focus solely on fibre art for the whole scope of the project. After personally working in fibre for over 20 years, it is very moving to see fibre and textile artists receiving well-deserved attention.

Co-curating the current show in Ace’s lobby Gallery — Cynthia Alberto and Weaving Hand — and the upcoming September group gallery exhibition of the artists who contributed to the hotel has been so satisfying. It will allow the viewers to reconceptualise art inside the guest rooms and hopefully create a deeper understanding of the artist's work.

Colourful tapestry artwork over a white double bed, bed side wooden table with black lamp, white wall, smoke detector on wall, black clothes rail connected high on wall, dark wood divider screen

Chi Nguyen.

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

Jamie Goldenberg textile art inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn, white wall, black bedside table lamps, top of wooden double bed with white pillows

Jamie Goldenberg.

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

Susan Maddux textile fibre art piece in the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Susan Maddux.

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

The new Ace Hotel Brooklyn, Thompson Street Project, Kiva Motnyk tapestry artwork on the wall over a bed, white wall, dark grey curtain, wooden double bed frame, black metal bed side lamps

Thompson Street Project, Kiva Motnyk

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

Textile artist Sarah Zapata fibre art on a white wall at the Ace Hotel Brooklyn

Sarah Zapata.

(Image credit: Sophie Trauberman)

Ace Hotel Brooklyn room, Tamika Rivera textile art on the wall over two double beds, cream covers, white sheets and pillow, dark grey curtains, black frame window, wooden ceiling lamp, striped wooden rocking chair, grey marble ceiling, white walls, grey rug under bed

Tamika Rivera.

(Image credit: Stephen Kent Johnson)


Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.