The Changemakers: The Painter’s Touch


Londubh Studio brings the art of fine painting back to design

Londubh Studio founders Lisa Donohoe and Brynn Gelbard. Photos by Dusti Cunningham.

Business as usual has always looked different for Londubh Studio. On a wall in the former downtown L.A. workshop they shared with other artisans and makers, Londubh Studio’s founders emblazoned the words “Bitches Rule” with their usual flourish and panache. At first the slogan was a cheeky reference to the female dogs that led the on-site canine pack, but eventually it took on more significance. “Strong women are the best, and that’s really the way we intend—to lift people up,” says Brynn Gelbard, who with her wife, Ireland native Lisa Donohoe, founded the L.A.-based decorative painting enterprise (pronounced “lon-dove”) in 2011. “It’s a nod to everyone who’s ever had to stand up for their right to be.”

Through their original geometric patterns expressed with exacting hand-applied painting and surfacing techniques, the couple’s work dazzles at all scales. Their immersive vision was an essential feature of interior designer Nicole Hollis’s stunning transformation of a San Francisco mansion. Donohoe and Gelbard have produced digitally printed wallpapers to more accessibly spread their gospel of exuberant color, pattern and texture, and they’ve recently developed a line of embossed leathers. The duo’s brand of maximalism goes against the tide of “this hyper-minimalism that makes the interior design industry a little bit more sleepy than other design industries,” Gelbard observes.

Inside a woman’s closet hand-painted by Londubh Studio. Photos by Dusti Cunningham.

A ceramic tile collection is in the works—”It is a natural avenue for us to extend into,” Donohoe says—and an exciting partnership with a Poland-based technology company will soon bring Londubh Studio’s magic into the virtual space. Gelbard likens the experience to “when you go to a large forest or take in a large view and you feel you’re part of something bigger. Technology provides that opportunity.” It’s
all part of their forward-thinking, radically inclusive ethos that embraces the spectrum from the tangibly handmade to the virtual—or whatever form your path to joy might take.

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