If you watched the last episode of Mad Men and/or groovy is a word you’re ready to put back into play, you’re likely in the perfect mood for Cafe Gratitude’s latest branch in Downtown LA. As the signs in the windows of the organic, vegetarian, plant-based mini-chain say: “I am present” and “I am cool.” And the same can be said for Wendy Haworth’s inviting, decades-bridging design.
Photography by Nicole LaMotte.
Above: Haworth, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, was presented with a brand-new shell–the cafe is in the just-finished One Santa Fe building–and asked to telegraph “the community-minded values of the Cafe Gratitude concept, which include authenticity and respect for nature and others.” (And the cafe does its part: “Approximately 75 percent of the food is grown at the restaurant’s own Be Love organic farm,” Haworth tells us.) In response, she reached out to a number of local artisans, who happen to be in the midst of their own sixties-tinged groove. As a backdrop, Haworth inserted a brick veneer to the bar wall: “Typically, I prefer real materials, but to counter the austere newness, I liked the idea of having a perimeter that feels solid.”
Above: Haworth collaborated on the overall concept with architect Victor Corona of VMC Architecture, who focused on the layout and kitchen design.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the cafe offers a range of vibes courtesy of seating, from bar stools to banquettes (and there’s also an outdoor terrace). The wood floors are cerused engineered oak from Universal Hardwood. The beamed ceiling is modeled after Haworth’s own 1920s apartment in West Hollywood. The brass pendant lights and sconces are by Remodelista favorite Atelier de Troupe of LA.
Above L: LA ceramicist Heather Levine made the bar’s custom stoneware pendant lights. (See more of her work in our recent post The Bohemian Life: Designer Lauren Soloff at Home in LA.) Above R: The macramé wall hangings on driftwood–priced on Etsy at $65 and $70–are by Marisa of Free Creatures.
Above: White Thonet Armchairs from DWR surround a marble-topped cafe table. Haworth had the brass bar shelving made by Eric Beneker Design, and the stools are her own design of powder-coated steel with paper-cord seating and footrests.
Above L: The hanging-screen room dividers are the work of The California Workshop, specialists in lightweight, laser-cut wood designs. Above R: Hollyflora supplied the plants and hanging planters. (For those old enough to remember: Is macramé better the second time around? We think so.)
Above: Haworth inserted a touch of color with mustard-colored fiberglass Eiffel Shell Chairs from Modernica that stand under a raked plaster wall.
Above: Stacks of yellow and white dishes add a graphic element.
Above L: The yellow dishes are Fiesta (the updated Fiestaware) in Sunflower. Above R: Words of “gratitude and optimism” are etched on the water bottles–aka Affirmation Bottles–from a company called Spoken Glass.
Above: A fiddle leaf fig stands guard–and, Haworth reports, so far is thriving. Read all about the finicky favorite on Gardenista, including The Fig and I: Tips for Caring for a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. For more, go to Cafe Gratitude and Wendy Haworth Design Studio.