The chairs at Cusp Dining & Drinks, tucked away on the 11th floor of Kimpton’s newly renovated Hotel La Jolla in San Diego, are covered in Italian linen. “They add a casual, beach-like feel while remaining beautiful,” says Gulla Jonsdottir, who designed the restaurant. “I thought it was important since Cusp serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner that it should feel comfortable instead of stuffy.”
Jonsdottir, principal of West Hollywood-based G + Gulla Jonsdottir Design, wanted to create a “sensual, feminine space that lets the food and the environment pop amidst natural colors,” while evoking La Jolla’s beaches and the trees surrounding the property. “The cut-out leaves in the ceiling are inspired by the local trees. I scanned and copied the DNA of that one leaf into a steel-cut screen backlit in the ceiling. The wood screens that separate the booths and various areas of Cusp are a blown-up version of this same pattern, but extruded into huge sculptures,” she explains.
To capture a feeling that is distinctly Californian, “yet reflects hints of the Mediterranean,” Jonsdottir turned to materials like whitewashed oak flooring that reminds her of nearby sandy white beaches, lined fireplaces with petrified black and white wood tiles reminiscent of local rocks, and topped the bar with white stone and inlaid brass “to hint at the elegance one feels when in the neighborhood of La Jolla.” Walnut wood tables, custom designed in the shape of a leaf, bring warmth to the space, and those bronze leaf cut-outs play with light and shadow throughout.
At Cusp, varied textures seamlessly complement one another; for example, Jonsdottir notes, “the rough feel of the ancient petrified wood mixed with the smoothness of the plaster ceiling and the openness of the space allowing patrons to enjoy the view of the ocean. That ocean view!”