Wednesday, February 21, 2024
HomeLIFESTYLEInside the L.A. cocktail lounge Dahlia created by Kelly Wearstler

Inside the L.A. cocktail lounge Dahlia created by Kelly Wearstler

Downtown Los Angeles is experiencing a cultural renaissance, sparked by a new surge of hospitality, art, and design destinations, with the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel serving as a driving force. Although the design-forward bolthole has only been open for two years, its bones are ingrained in history.

Proper’s DTLA location is housed in a historic building designed by legendary architects Curlett & Beelman in the Roaring Twenties to function as a private club frequented by notable figures such as Cecil B. DeMille.

Its proximity to celebrated cultural landmarks such as the Arena, L.A. Live, Walt Disney Concert Hall, MOCA, and The Broad Museum enhances its geographical allure.

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And this summer, the hotel unveils Dahlia, a cocktail lounge concept that is lending a fresh spark to revitalizing and redefining the district’s narrative, deftly weaving threads from the city’s historic past into its vibrant present.

The design incorporates custom stained-glass doors by Judson Studios and a combination of vintage and contemporary [+] art, enveloping visitors in a soothing terracotta and pink color scheme that is highlighted by dramatic silk ceiling fixtures by Ruemmler.

The opening of Dahlia, named after a flower native to Mexico, completes the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel’s culinary triumvirate: Alongside the Portuguese-inspired Caldo Verde and the hip rooftop lounge Cara Cara, Dahlia serves as an intimate retreat for savoring and sipping an elevated cocktail experience that balances the pillars of mixology with a solid selection of predominantly small-batch spirits.

Dahlia, named after Mexico’s national flower, invites guests on a sophisticated cocktail voyage, blending… Masterful mixology is complemented by a curated selection of premium, small-batch spirits.

It is the final phase of Kelly Wearstler’s top-down redesign of the Proper, and it pays reverence to the building’s historical architecture while remaining contemporary. She explains, “[For Dahlia], we drew upon Spanish, Mexican, Moorish, and early Californian references but kept them modern so that the interiors are transportive without being simplistic.” “Each space on the property adopts a unique approach while adhering to the same fundamentals. We also place special emphasis on the art curation, which encompasses decades and is inspired by the architecture of the building.”

Earthy shades of terracotta and pink surround visitors as they enter Dahlia, strikingly in contrast to the exquisite silk ceiling fixtures made by Ruemmler. “Grounding the room with monochromatic clay-tinted plaster walls and handmade tile establishes integrity and depth in the room, which is ultimately timeless,” continues the designer.

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From there, both contemporary and vintage craft-driven furnishings, lighting, and artworks have been layered so that the space feels collected and unstaged.”

Kelly Wearstler, a world-renowned interior designer, imbues the space with a fusion of Mexican, Spanish, and Moroccan elements, creating a captivating atmosphere that transports guests from the bustling center of downtown Los Angeles.

In Wearstler’s diverse portfolio, Dahlia stands out as a singular offering: a departure from her usual endeavors, distinguished by the intimacy of the space that facilitates an immersive cocktail voyage. She portrays the destination as more than just a location; rather, it is a carefully crafted jewel (“a jewel box”) designed to enhance the passenger experience. “Dahlia is the smallest venue we’ve created for any Proper hotel, so it needed to be even more special,” she explains.

The experience is structured around a moving cocktail cart that creates customized beverages at each table. This emphasis on creating a type of cocktail theatre necessitated an ambiance that would entice guests to remain in their seats for longer. “We needed a setting where guests would not want to leave their seats,” says Wearstler. “I believe we’ve accomplished that.”



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