Design Destination: Mad Men About You – Viviane Restaurant at The Avalon HotelAuthor:Abigail Stone
Midcentury modern style flourished in Los Angeles for good reason. The city’s setting was a fertile environment in which that design period’s ideas flourished. Its hallmarks — indoor-outdoor living, comfortable furniture, simple lines — were right in line with the Southern California lifestyle. The images of Los Angeles it conjures up — of palm trees and open-topped convertibles, people in casual clothing and sunglasses around a pool enjoying bright cocktails — remains a potent draw for visitors. The Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills filters that dreamy memory through a modern lens and the new Viviane restaurant, designed by Kelly Wearstler, the design ambassador for the best of the city’s style, brings it to vivid reality.
Chef Michael Hung, formerly of Faith & Flower (San Franciscan’s know his food from Jardiniere and La Folie) presents a menu that offers the classics of California cuisine kicked up to their highest height, straddling both its healthy and heartier sides without compromising on either. So while there are egg white frittatas and smoothies for breakfast there are also lemon ricotta pancakes and hash; lunch and dinner manage the same balancing act with salads, crudo and a squash and tofu ragout alongside ricotta ravioli with brown butter, chicken and dumplings, steaks and burgers.
Wearstler achieves the same equilibrium with her designs, mixing European and American midcentury furniture, culled from around the world, in jaunty groupings and washing a palette of rich colors — turquoise blue, rich gold, creamed ivory and orange red toned down with grey — over everything. Riffing the same theme — the classics reinvigorated — the staff is outfitted in Uniqlo’s slim Japanese take on iconic American style.
Inside, handcrafted white oak tables, inlaid with a geometric patterns of dark and light triangles, balance wood and brass dining chairs by Dan Johnson and Carlo de Carli settees. A marble bar, surrounded by vintage iron-forged bar stools refashioned with deep blue and ivory geometric patterned leather sling seat cushions, serves up cocktails given the same workout, including that standby of the space’s last incarnation, the cosmopolitan, that’s actually worth drinking.
Outside, the cabanas that surround the pool’s voluptuous curves have been enlivened with colorful, hand-painted trompe l’oeil patterns that pay homage to Italian architect Gio Ponti. Wearstler’s signature soufflé sofas, along with vintage-gilded Italian lounge chairs, Carl Gustaf Hiort af Ornäs’ 1950s beechwood lounge chairs and Pierre Chapo coffee tables, complete the picture-perfect setting, the backdrop to your California dreaming.
For more information and restaurant reservations: Viviane Restaurant