Inside the modern glass structure of the LINE Austin hotel, Kristen Kish’s panoramic restaurant Arlo Grey overlooks the Colorado River. From the circular, outward-facing seating, guests can take in expansive views of Lady Bird Lake while dining under lush greenery and gold lanterns. Local architect Michael Hsu worked with Los Angeles designer Sean Knibb to create a space of contemporary sophistication that melds the building’s modernist design with its natural surroundings. They developed a sleek palette of soft grays and pastels throughout the property that seamlessly transitions into Arlo Grey, where dark, sculptural furnishings of black timber and exposed concrete are softened by light accents of white marble and plush, textile-covered seating.
The Top Chef season 10 winner collaborated with Hsu and Knibb to create a light, airy space imbued with her personal story—seen in details like her journal pages and handwritten recipes framed as art, as well as the restaurant’s very moniker, the name she would have given to her first child. A particularly special element of design is the bathroom art installation, where the words of a Korean Cinderella storybook graffiti the walls while a woman’s voice softly streams from the speakers, reading the tale aloud in Korean. “Their design meshed well with my personal taste and aesthetic,” Kish says.
It was the LINE Hotel’s initiative to promote local artists that opened opportunities to bring in Texan artisans like Michael Wilson, whose modern-organic sculptural designs can be seen in the handcarved hardwood elements throughout the property. The inky-black bar that anchors the restaurant is uniquely fabricated from stained ash inspired by the world’s largest urban bat colony at the neighboring Congress Avenue
Bridge, where the animals’ nightly flights yield a surreal display. Tying in these environmental elements with personal mementos and an even more personal menu reflective of her story, Kish has managed to carve out her own little corner of Texas at Arlo Grey. “I wanted to share with Austin great food, a full story, and a place for people to feel comfortable and taken care of,” she says.
Bring Home Minimalist Elements from Arlo Grey
Texas artist Michael Wilson is known for turning wood into pieces of art, interweaving function and form. Throughout the LINE property, his artistry can be seen from the stained ash bar to accents texturizing the walls. While pieces in his gallery reflect the soulful nature of his furniture, Wilson will also create a custom piece inspired by your own environmental surroundings. Prices vary; michaelwilsondesign.com
At Arlo Grey, the open, airy design feels elegant and timeless, but intricately detailed finishes give it a punk edge. Bring this edgy feeling to your space with a suspended chandelier made of draped gold metal chains from award-winning lighting designer Willowlamp, which specializes in bespoke willowed ball chain illumination. Price varies by size and location; willowlamp.com
A variety of plush, upholstered seating is mixed throughout the dining room to create softness among the hard surfaces. Sotow chairs by Milanese designer Paolo Calcagni, in an array of custom fabrics, provide an element of surprise. Calcagni creates elegant iron pieces customized to his clients’ tastes, like this striking option inspired by a reworked version of nineteenth-century panoramic paintings complemented by a black-andwhite iron structure. $860; artemest.com