Like an academic niched in the carvings of Auguste Rodin, the Otium Restaurant sits like a cube of polished wood with accents of steel. Suspended by Miesian girders in the heart of Los Angeles and resting beside the Broad Museum on Grand Avenue, Otium speaks to the cultural renaissances inside our imaginations.
Inside, Otium is lively with temptation and activity. Natural light floods the social atmosphere, opening the space to the conversations of creative contemporaries, and the wood, copper, and ceramic flourishes of the restaurant’s structure lend a raw and refined look, the kind of kitchen that Chef Timothy Hollingsworth works best in.
Otium Restaurant has the reserved modernity of a pavilion you would find at the Venice Biennale, and the untampered beauty of a hanging art installation you would study inside of it. It’s a place where the artist and the architect meet to draw inspiration from a large flavor palette, and a live bar counter filled by chatting neighbors and soothing ambience.
The restaurant’s structural design is captured within the one frame above. Through a single-point perspective characteristic of many early Renaissance paintings, very briefly, we harken ourselves back to the Greek and Roman architectural revival of eras past before the shadowing on the interior’s lines are broken by a bursting spatial reality: the patrons become the aesthetic.
When you really unearth the history behind the restaurant, you’ll notice the 100-year-old olive trees planted in Broad Plaza by way of a visage of tangled green vines on an interior wall, spelling out words like a secret code in a woodsy fantasy novel. On the building’s back exterior, you’ll find massive swimming fish that just so happened to be placed there by artist Damien Hirst.
Otium was the final stop on the Architecture Interior Committee’s AIA/LA 2016 spring tour, which recognizes the rich architecture that beautifies the city of Los Angeles. All are encouraged to enjoy the view with a comfortable garden mezzanine wine tasting or a four-course dinner, where your perfect placement in between the indoor dining room and open kitchen will put you at an experiential advantage.
But don’t just sit in the ambience–trust this Los Angeles restaurant photographer: you’ll want to become a part of the Otium experience.