When dining or drinking at Grá, the design by Red Deer gives patrons a sense of sitting outdoors while indoors, with recycled materials, plants, and abundant Southern California light.

  • area / size 3,500 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Type Restaurant,
  • Collaborating closely on the design with founder Michael McSharry, Grá – the Irish word for love – echoes the passions of both McSharry and Red Deer; McSharry’s being sourdough and Red Deer’s being materials and mood.

    Set on Pizarro Street near the lake in LA’s Echo Park, Grá found its home in a disused old barn complete with original trusses, a concrete core and marks from previous generations.

    The 3500 sq ft 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.

    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. With a view to reusing and repurposing materials for both aesthetic value and environmental impact, Red Deer looked closely in local Los Angeles builder’s merchants and reclaimed yards and catalogued a new inventory of materials from which to curate the space. Disused marble shards formed the skeleton of Grá’s 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 establishing Red Deer and the concept at large.

    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.

    Design: Red Deer
    Photography: Hannah Wilson