La Palma restaurant is located on Dundas Street West, in the city’s Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood, and is run by Hutchison and her partner, chef Craig Harding.
It is the couple’s second restaurant, following Campagnolo across the street, and is designed around the fun creative spirit and natural scenery of Venice Beach, California.
During a visit to the area, Hutchinson noticed its similarities to Trinity-Bellwoods – finding that both have artsy residents and a strong sense of community.
“The design aesthetic and atmosphere of La Palma reflects Venice Beach’s art-centric vibe,” said Hutchison, who recently founded her design firm Studio Marlowe since moving back from New York City. “It’s welcoming in its lively spiritedness and in its celebration of the neighbourhood.”
The 2,700-square-foot restaurant occupies a large, sunlit space that is mostly white, and surrounded by garage-style doors with dozens of glass panels.
These rolling service doors, which also served the previous restaurant on the site, were given a fresh coat of paint, and existing concrete floors were sealed in a custom-tinted epoxy resin.
The focal point of La Palma is a colourful mural by local artist Madison van Rijn. The artwork comprises large brushstrokes of seafoam green, thin squiggly lines in soft pink, and more organic forms in black.
An L-shaped half-wall volume breaks up the open floor plan, and creates a hallway off the kitchen and service area. A white counter divides the kitchen and cashier from the eating area.
Around the restaurant are built-in cushioned benches, upholstered in caramel-coloured fabric with tubular backs. Cream chairs have dark wood legs and were selected for their mid-century modern lines from ISA International.
Small square cafe tables were custom-designed by Hutchison, and have white marble tops, and turned oak and brass bases. Their subtle, sculptural design is a nod to the designer’s favourite artist: Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi.
A bar at the entrance has sky blue cushioned chairs, which continue the ocean-themed modernist aesthetic.
Around the restaurant, brass light fixtures in hourglass shapes feature milky globes on either end. Exposed ducts and pipes overhead are painted white, and contribute to the artistic industrial decor.
Photography is by Krista Jahnke.
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