At the heart of The ION, Houston's new tech-hub in Midtown, The Lymbar is a Pan South American, Lebanese, and Mediterranean fusion restaurant and bar with lounge tendencies that provides a hotel lobby-like space for both the building tenants and surrounding community. The design is an amalgamation of elements that tell the story of both the chef's family and heritage that have inspired this concept. His childhood home on Lymbar St, was a mid-century ranch in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. Drawing inspiration from his experiences growing up, this restaurant embodies both the comfort of home and the energy of his dynamic community.
The design goal was to create an innate sense of comfort, familiarity and well-being upon entering this space. 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 andlush greenery create a lived-in and welcoming feeling.
Custom overscale globes draped in moss and hanging plantings are suspended in front of floor-to-ceiling windows, creating drama, interest and softness all at once. The foundational color palette used for the focal-point mural on the facade of the bar boasts vibrant earth tones like orange, red, and olive, which also informed the color palette of the plush custom furnishings.
Looking to the South American heritage of the chef’s family, the design take cues from Brazilian art & architecture and Guatamalan Brutalism.
The glowing bar shelving was inspired by Gio Ponti’s unique architectural geometric forms, while the bar facade was hand-painted in the style of Burle Marx work by a local artisan. Architects José Montes Córdova and Raúl Minondo's famous Bank of Guatamala inpired the brutalist custom concrete breeze block canopy that crowns the open kitchen.
Another design standout is the monochromatic private dining room, bathed in tones of mauve, which provide a chic and sophisticated environment.
The flooring & metallic ceiling were handpainted by local artist Carissa Marx
Course Construction built the project
Emily Durham with JLL brokered the deal
Chef Michael Serva assisted with the menu
Ashley Rosenfeld and Chef Michael Serva consulted on menu and operations
KPK Lighting created the drama
Gunnells Concrete provided the concrete finishes
House of Fine Interiors provided the upholstery
The art and accessories curation was a collaboration between David Cordua and local artist Vernon Caldera
Vernon worked with Flora Culture to realize the custom greenery installations
First Place - Hospitality Interior Design or Architectural Design: Hotel, Restaurant, Club - PaperCity Design Awards 2023
Finalist - Houston Business Journal 2023