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Hotel La Jolla - La Jolla, California

Apr 10, 2013

“The gesture of a simple leaf⎯⎯found onsite during one visit to La Jolla⎯⎯set the tone throughout the design of the hotel,” says designer Gulla Jonsdottir of the renovations to Kimpton's Hotel La Jolla’s 11,000 square feet of public space.

                                                                        Hotel La Jolla entrance

Candle-lit leaf cutouts welcome guests into the Southern California’s hotel lobby. “The enlarged standing sculptures in front of the building filter light throughout the day and play with light and shadows inside the lobby,” says Jonsdottir, principal of Los Angeles-based Gulla Jonsdottir Design.


Inside, a backlit wooden screen with a leaf pattern—its vein structure was traced, enlarged, and transformed into the piece—stands behind reception. “The sculptural reception desk was created to remind guests of the local landscape,” says Jonsdottir. Meanwhile, in Cusp restaurant on the 11th floor the leaf pattern reappears on the ceiling as a steel-cut backlit installation, and wood screens with the same motif separate the booths and various areas.

                                                                               Cusp restaurant

“The new lobby is designed to be an elegant and yet beach-like, bright, and airy space⎯⎯mirroring the sun-kissed feel of this beach town,” says Jonsdottir, pointing to the use of whitewashed oak flooring, travertine pavers, and plastered walls and ceilings. “It’s distinctly Californian yet reflects hints of the Mediterranean.” Made from Balinese wooden tiles, a chiseled petrified double-sided wood fireplace is the lobby’s focus and connects the space with Hiatus, the ground floor’s outdoor lounge. “The ancient wood tiles have transformed into stone over thousands of years⎯⎯creating this very organic and gorgeous material made by nature,” says Jonsdottir.

                                                                                   Hiatus lounge

In Cusp, Jonsdottir incorporated the leaf shape again, here as custom designed walnut wood tables, and the bar is topped with white stone inlaid with a brass leaf pattern. Elsewhere, petrified black-and-white wood tile fireplaces recall local rock formations and Italian linen covers the chairs. “They add a casual, beach-like feel while remaining beautiful,” says Jonsdottir. “Since Cusp serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it was important that the space feel comfortable, not stuffy. Patrons can enjoy the vast views of the ocean⎯⎯the panorama of crystalline waters and jagged cliffs is instant Zen.”

                                                                                  Cusp restaurant


hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



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