L.A. Live is a hip, thriving entertainment complex in a long-ignored area of downtown Los Angeles, full of new restaurants, bars and hotels. Restaurateur Armen Hakobayan, who owned the popular Green Street Tavern in suburban Pasadena, wanted to join that growing urban community.
But, in an odd juxtaposition, he wanted to join the urban community with a restaurant whose cuisine was French provincial – the countryside, the farmland, the French comfort food of casseroles and skillets, wine and fresh-baked bread.
The approach taken by Flo Design was to blend the provincial feel with the downtown vibe in an urban mash-up that reflects the neighborhood community. “The tag line on the Industriel website is, ‘The kind of food your grandmother would make, but only if she had tatted sleeves,’ ” says Tagliaferri.
Stripping an old Carl’s Jr. restaurant down to its concrete columns, galvanized steel ceiling and raw steel walls gave the space a gritty feel that supported the name. Then Tagliaferri brought in Provence.
Black and white photos of two weathered French farmers’ faces greet diners at the door. There’s also reclaimed barnwood in the front, and the tables are distressed and painted over to look worn. Sketched, poetic wall murals suggest the French countryside, while vintage cow bells hang in the window.
But, says Tagliaferri, “I also wanted to create some visual selling points that draw people in to see the space.” So after interviewing Chef Joseph Antonishek about his ingredients, she strung 287 little bear-shaped honey jars over an old farmhouse tub to create a kind of chandelier.
If the downstairs is “Provence mod,” the upstairs is a Rat Pack lounge – a more sophisticated, hip and cool retreat, featuring oversized furniture and a 200-square-foot wall mural of a 1930s French prostitute.
It’s a Hollywood-style funk and farm coexisting in downtown Los Angeles.