Studio UNLTD Sets the Stage for Plant-Based Rejuvenation at Gusto Green
Housed in the Green Street Building in downtown Los Angeles, California, Gusto Green is one of several unique businesses that reference the cannabis industry. Instead of directly dealing in THC products, the adaptogenic lifestyle restaurant features a plant-forward, omnivore-friendly menu inspired by the nutrient dense hemp leaf.
It’s this singular ingredient, and the restaurant’s commitment to encouraging healthier, nature-inspired indulgence, that drives the restaurant’s design, headed by award-winning Studio UNLTD (Los Angeles) in tandem with M-RAD architects, who helped conceptualize the design. “Humans, like plants, thrive when given the opportunity to alternate between periods of rest and periods of expansion,” states Greg Bleier, founding principle and creative director of the studio.
Exploring the life of the cannabis plant, split between light and darkness, the restaurant delves into themes of rest and growth through a layering of organic materials, textures, colors and, of course, botanical shapes in both plant life and artwork. This led the studio to carefully curate the experiences throughout the space so that it would at once feel healthy and beneficial for patrons.
Earthen Colors and Organic Textures Offer Up Meditative Spaces
Central to the theming is the multiwall polycarbornate structure that frames the main dining room, creating the impression of a green house. While carefully blending the newer materials in with older building elements, Studio UNLTD also uses clever lighting and shadow play to simulate a daylight window. The foliage beyond gives the impression of more expansive verdantry deeper past the false barrier.
The project also revels in the vibrancy of earth-bound hues, casting out drab browns and beiges for green grass, red clay and blue river water. To simulate erosion and weathering, the walls were even treated with a lime wash, leaving the open spaces feeling more exposed to their elements.
Private dining areas, meanwhile lean more into the dark reaches of the earth, enshrouding guests in meditative darkness through the use of charred, black furniture and aggregate terrazzo flooring made to represent river pebbles. Ceramic elements worked on by skilled craftsmen bear signs of stratification found in rammed earth construction, further leaning into organic elements.
Since themes of proved to be such an integral component in the interior design, so too does the lighting of the space follow through on that. Tunable white lights shift throughout the day, evoking sensations of cool morning illumination during the day and the warmth of candlelight during the evening.
Elsewhere, plants and lights are balanced between similar holding elements. Custom-made glass globes from Studio UNLTD’s own lighting line, Verdo, for light, and metal mesh spheres for hanging greens.