Los Angeles, USA
We collaborated closely on the design of Grá with the founder, Michael McSharry. Grá, the Irish word for love talked of our obsessions channeled in different avenues, Michael’s in sourdough and Red Deer's in materials and mood. This ethos was shared by many collaborators on the project. Our site felt almost made for us - a forgotten old barn with original trusses, concrete core and marks from previous generations, set near the lake in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
The space is divided up broadly in to a few sections - a bar, a main dining space with communal tables adjacent to an open plan kitchen, a setback patio on Pizarro Street and a recessed internal courtyard opposite the busy Glendale Boulevard. The back of the house areas took their cue from a lofty music video that whistled through our heads at the time, and indeed the integration of music was key to the space's design with bespoke speaker made by Mohawk General Store founder Kevin Carney and a bespoke DJ booth.
Our approach was simple and a practiced routine in our home setting of London but was an exciting new journey in the LA landscape. We looked closely in the builder’s merchants and reclaimed yards and catalogued a new inventory of materials from which to curate our space. When you force yourself to relook at materials again through the eyes of a child, we can find the beauty in the pieces that were lost or elevate a humble everyday block to a higher calling. Skipped marble shards formed the skeleton of our bartop, planter edgings a beautiful pinkish barfront. Our floor was an exercise in love itself - we dreamt of a tapestry of 40,000 individually laid granite setts establishing ourselves and the concept at large. We collaged moods in endless discussions about feeling and simplification to create spaces that feel effortless.
Our first foray in to the US restaurant design world was a rewarding and educational endeavour. We aimed to create a space we would feel at home at in Los Angeles and we hope echoes of our European soul shine through from the unhemmed branch drapes to the slouch breeze block banquettes.