Gulla Jónsdóttir Takes Home a Best of Year Award for Esperanza
2021 Best of Year winner for Hospitality – Fine Dining
Los Angeles architectural designer Gulla Jónsdóttir has a thing for biomorphic shapes, the legacy of her study of both mathematics and biology. See the upside-down garden that meanders on the lobby ceiling of her 2017 Interior Design Best of Year Award–winning Macau Roosevelt hotel. Or, in her latest hospitality project, the cresting stucco facade sparked by the white sand dunes of Los Cabos, Mexico, at Esperanza, a hip new Sonoran-style restaurant in Manhattan Beach that Jónsdóttir worked on via FaceTime from her native Iceland during the pandemic. “My background inspires me to look into the DNA of plants and trees and extract their forms into design,” she says. That’s particularly evident in Esperanza’s carved plaster wall that references agave genes.
In the 2,000-square-foot eatery, diners can imbibe pineapple-serrano-cilantro margaritas at the 12-seat bronze-backed bar or feast on ceviche seated in muted yellow-leather chairs—a 1964 design by Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. Whitewashed clay pendant fixtures made in the Oaxacan town of Santa María Atzompa glow overhead, their hand-cut perforations playing on motifs carved into the stone at Mitla, a nearby Mesoamerican archaeological site. Pinched dishes and chain sculptures by Kym Gold are the final touch, styled using skills Jónsdóttir honed long ago as a set designer for Disney.
Gulla Jónsdóttir Makes a Hotel Sweet Home in Hollywood
Gulla Jónsdóttir has been tearing down the aesthetic walls separating residential and hospitality design for years, creating spaces for guests of the Peer Hotel, Mayfair Hotel, and Getty Center to feel righ…
Best of Year Awards 2021
Interior Design celebrates design in all its forms with the 2021 Best of Year Awards. See the winner’s gallery here.
Gulla Jónsdóttir’s Global Sensibilities Define the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in Los Angeles
A curriculum vitae highlighting studies in mathematics and biology might not suggest a glamorous interior, furniture, and fashion designer. Yet Gulla Jónsdóttir, a Reykjavik, Iceland, native, has …