Raw luxury and eccentric design make The Line an uncomplicated, albeit sophisticated hotel that speaks primarily to the new generation.
Where most hotels jostle to offer richer, plusher, more decadent interiors, The Line coolly steps forward with a hotel that is stripped down to its bare concrete walls, and boasts furniture made from repurposed materials. These are but a few of the many creative liberties the owners have taken to create a space that resonates with the changing tastes of the new generation.
Located in Koreatown, Los Angeles, The Line is a creative collaboration between owner Andrew Zobler from the Sydell Group (owners of the NoMad in New York) and a team comprising a Venice-based interior designer, a celebrity chef, nightclub owners and an art shop duo.
The hotel is housed in an iconic 1960s building only miles away from the star-studded cosmos of Hollywood. Yet, sitting alongside Koreatown’s famous pre-1940s brick colonial buildings, The Line chooses to draw inspiration from the much humbler but distinct Korean culture of its neighbourhood.
You’ll find ethnic references to Koreatown stamped across this 388-room property conceptualised by interior designer Sean Knibbs; although the most distinct feature – exposed concrete walls – is more influenced by the concept of repurposing.
Knibbs reveals he retained as much of the original architecture of the building as was possible but tore through the old layers to uncover the raw, concrete walls that underscore The Line’s edgy character. Knibbs pulls off the unconventional, austere look of The Line with panache thanks to his dexterous application of layered design, various textures and unexpected usage of everyday objects.
His anti-establishment interiors are padded with eccentric materials like T-shirts, burlap, Mexican blankets and animal-shaped throw rugs that sit airily alongside more traditional materials.
To the designer it’s all about the “simplification of material” and about elevating the quotidian or using those materials that are not conventionally used to connote luxury. Inexpensive, dyed T-shirts, for instance are used to line a soffit in the lounge area. Most likely an allusion to the area’s history as a fashion district or a reference to the ubiquitous outfit of the tourists, the T-shirts also “celebrate the everyday life of LA and not just its glamour”.
“It is really important to us that we be a part of the fabric of the neighbourhood”, says owner Andrew Zobler. “We love the idea of a big lobby that is practically a living room for the neighbourhood.” The hotel’s link to Koreatown is further reinforced through everyday elements like the soffit T-shirts and the Henry Taylor sculpture of water jugs behind the front desk.
Knibbs’ design theme for the guest room is split across three materials, “wood in the entry, porcelain in the bathroom and concrete for a simple, clean palate.” In each room, sweeping views of the city, especially of the buzzing streets of Koreatown below can be enjoyed through full-length windows and a bed that faces the view full-on.
With a view this dynamic it makes absolute sense to keep the interiors uncluttered and here Knibbs’ restraint is to be admired. There are for instance only three art elements within the room – a large photograph, a small collage and a metal bird sculpture. “It’s a much more contemplative space to relax and decompress,” quips the designer.
It also exudes a homely, lived-in atmosphere with its warm orange lights, detergent-bottle-shaped porcelain vases and repurposed Mexican blanket chairs.
Downstairs in a windowless restaurant, Knibbs uses peeling paint and dried flowers on the wall to create a green garden feeling, albeit a sunless one.
And for the exteriors he uses planted fruit trees, vegetables, herbs and vines cascading over the wooden patio fence to ultimately connect the hotel’s interiors with the city. Modest in its choice of materials but rich in ideas, The Line represents the zeitgeist – a world where less is often considered to be more.
Text By Christabelle Athaide
Photographs Courtesy Adrian Gaut, Art Gray and Sisilia Piring