Gulla Jonsdottir’s eponymous firm’s most recent project is a restaurant in Studio City, Los Angeles called Girasol – Spanish for flower – and is designed to appeal to a very demanding and style-conscious local clientele.
Icelandic-born Gulla Jonsdottir, described as the new Zaha Hadid by the Huffington Post, is the founder of G+ Gulla Jonsdottir Design, located in New York, Los Angeles and the Middle East.
Gulla was principal designer of the acclaimed Dodd Mitchell Design (DMD) firm in Hollywood, where she has been responsible for numerous projects, including the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Cabo Azul Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Thompson hotels, among many others.
Prior to joining DMD, Gulla spent four years with Richard Meier and Partners as part of the design team for projects such as the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. She also worked as a set designer at Walt Disney Imagineering where she collaborated on Tokyo Disney Seas and Euro Disney in Paris, France.
The Girasol restaurant in Studio City is one of a number of notable projects Gulla has delivered her own company, G+”Gulla Jonsdottir Design. Gulla took the Girasol name as the inspiration for the design direction of the project, refercing it in a clean and contemporary manner but with warmth and comfort as bedfellows.
“We wanted to represent this Girasol flower in a beautiful manner,” explains Gulla, “so we created a ceiling of whitewood flower petals which is backlit, and held up by, a central floral column stem. The smooth white ceiling is defined by intertwined amber lights creating a swirl of vines from the flower, making the patrons feel like they are inside a gigantic bloom of Girasol.
“The grey, natural stone walls have a wave of darker stone resembling large leaves, as do the white plaster walls, and intertwining vines of a flower are embossed into the concrete floor at the entry foyer.
“The overall design is characterised by elegant and neutral colours and very raw materials which is our reference to the restaurant’s cuisine; California farm-fresh. We used subdued colours of white and grey to create a space that appears both refreshing and intimate. The main dining and bar/lounge area have a white-washed oak flooring contrasted by a charcoal grey concrete bar, transforming from the floor to the bar top.
“The exterior design is humble yet sexy and is clad with black burnt wood, a simple reminder of the smell of cooking with fresh charcoal.
“The furniture is made from wood and soft linens and the table tops have an inlaid metal sunflower in the walnut wood tops, while the table bases resemble a root of an organic structure.
“Organic paper chandeliers hang above the hostess stand and a custom-made wine cellar hosts one of the main dining booths while comfortable sofas with white marble cocktail tables welcome guests into the lounge overlooking the patio,” concludes Gulla.