Last week I indulged in a little fantasy moment – a luxury retreat where I would escape with friends and family once the lockdown is over. This week I’m dreaming of eating out in a brand new LA restaurant with a rustic industrial warehouse aesthetic. Grá (the Irish word for love) is an artisan sourdough pizza and natural wine restaurant with a laid-back inviting atmosphere and an abundance of plants. Just the place to celebrate new-found freedom and to rediscover the simple pleasures of a meal cooked by someone else.
Take a Look
Set on Pizarro Street near the lake in LA’s Echo Park, this new restaurant found its home in a disused old barn complete with original trusses, a concrete core and marks from previous generations. The space is divided up broadly into a bar, a main dining area with communal tables adjacent to an open-plan kitchen, an off-street patio dining area and a recessed internal courtyard. The open-plan kitchen and back of the house centres around a domed Italian wood-burning oven. The heart of Grá.
And did I mention yet that it’s been designed by Red Deer, who are fast becoming my favourite design house. They collaborated closely on the design with founder Michael McSharry, and the result echoes the passions of both McSharry and Red Deer; McSharry’s being sourdough and Red Deer’s being materials and mood.
Red Deer’s approach for the interior concept of Grá was simple and a practiced routine in commercial design in their home setting of London. But an exciting new journey in the LA landscape. Great emphasis was put on reusing and repurposing materials for both aesthetic value and environmental impact. For that, they looked locally to builder’s merchants and reclaimation yards and sourced a new inventory of materials from which to curate the space.
Disused marble shards formed the skeleton of the bar top with planter edgings becoming a beautiful bar front. The floor was an exercise in love itself – lead architect Ciarán O’Brien dreamt of a tapestry of 40,000 individually laid granite setts. Red Deer and McSharry collaged moods in endless discussions about feeling and simplification to create a restaurant space that felt effortless.
The integration of music was key to Grá’s spatial design with bespoke speakers made by Mohawk General Store founder Kevin Carney sitting alongside a bespoke DJ booth.
The result is a rustic industrial warehouse aesthetic, with a laid-back inviting atmosphere.
Their first foray into the US restaurant design world, Grá was a rewarding and educational endeavour. In its design, Red Deer aimed to create a space in which they would feel at home within Los Angeles and a space that echoed their European soul present throughout the interior. From the unhemmed branch drapes to the slouch breeze block banquettes, reclaimed lighting and curated mid-century furniture. I think they’ve achieved just that.
Photography by Hannah Wilson