Gin Design Group completes The Lymbar restaurant in Houston

Houston-based Gin Design Group has combined various mid-century references at a local restaurant, which celebrates its chef’s family history and is “a tribute to all grandmothers”.

Located at The Ion business centre in Midtown Houston, The Lymbar‘s design was heavily influenced by the upbringing of chef David Cordúa, whose menu is based on Latin-Mediterranean cuisine.

Bar with painted mural by Carissa Marx
The Lymbar’s bar features a mural by Carissa Marx influenced by the colours of the chef’s family home

The 4,000-square-foot (370-square-metre) establishment is named after Lymbar Drive, the street where Cordúa’s grandparents settled in Houston from Nicaragua.

It was designed by Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group, who was the chef’s childhood babysitter.

The Lymbar dining room
Tones used for the plush furniture were taken from the bar mural

“The Lymbar is my grandmother’s house,” Cordúa said. “The house stayed in our family, and it’s where we perfected our family’s hospitality.”

“It’s a tribute to all grandmothers,” he added of the restaurant, which is intended to feel both elevated and cosy, achieved through warm lighting, deep red curtains and plush furnishings.

A life-like tree in the middle of the dining room
Greenery is introduced by a life-like tree in the centre and globe-shaped planters above the bar

“We wanted to capture the bustle of a hotel lobby, the polish of a private club and the hospitality of the Cordúa family in the design,” Braverman said.

“Mixed with a confluence of Latin American, Lebanese and Mediterranean textures and art layered over a backdrop of classic mid-century materials such as warm woods, earthy colors and lush greenery.”

Shelving above banquette seating
The shelving above the banquette seating displays mementos from the chef’s childhood

The colour palette for the interiors was drawn from the Cordúa family home.

Orange, red and olive hues were used as a starting point for a mural painted on the front of the bar by local artist Carissa Marx.

Dining tables and a collage by Vernon Caldera
Artworks in the space in include a collage by Vernon Caldera, while the scalloped floor pattern was hand-painted by Carissa Marx

Influenced by the work of Brazilian modernist Roberto Burle Marx, no relation to Carissa, the mural then informed the tones chosen for the lounge-style furniture.

Marx also hand-painted a black and white scalloped pattern across the concrete floor.

Red velvet curtains and warm lighting
Red velvet curtains and warm lighting evoke the appearance of a hotel lobby

Other nods to mid-century design in the restaurant include the shelving at the main bar, which was inspired by Gio Ponti’s Planchart Villa in Venezuela.

The shelves display a collection of nostalgic objects and mementos from Cordúa’s childhood.

Greenery is introduced through a life-like tree that sits at the centre of the dining area and large globe-shaped planters above the bar created in collaboration with locally based Nicaraguan artist Vernon Caldera and The Flora Culture.

Caldera also helped to curate The Lymbar’s art collection, and one of his collages hangs in the dining room.

Private dining room
A private dining room is decorated entirely in a red-purple shade

The restaurant’s open kitchen is framed by a concrete counter and faceted breeze blocks that incorporate lighting. There’s also a private dining room decorated entirely in a red-purple shade.

Gin Design Group focuses on hospitality interiors primarily in the Houston area. The studio recently completed a barbershop in the Southside Place neighbourhood, which features a radial layout and a hidden cork-like bar.

Open kitchen
The open kitchen is framed by a concrete counter and faceted breeze blocks that incorporate lighting

Other restaurants to open in the city over the past year include cosy Japanese spot Uchiko Houston and lively smokehouse Loro Heights – both designed by Michael Hsu.

The photography is by Leonid Furmansky.

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