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Michael Groth uses natural and recycled materials inside Donna restaurant


New York designer Michael Groth collaborated with a Moroccan artisan cooperative to create the wall hangings for this worker-owned bar and restaurant in the West Village.

The opening of Donna‘s new location on Cornelia Street follows the closure of its Williamsburg spot in December 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Banquette seating with wool wall hanging above in Donna restaurant
Michael Groth has designed the new Donna outpost in New York

Serving a pan-Latin menu with Mediterranean influences and Filipino-inspired cocktails, the restaurant and bar is now a worker-owned cooperative, with original owner Leif Young Huckman acting as an advisor.

To reflect this shift, Brooklyn-based Groth aimed to imbue the design of the new outpost with references to the previous location while nodding to Donna’s revised business model.

Bar area with earth-toned plaster walls
Earth-toned limewash plaster was applied to the walls in geometric patterns

He drew influences from the constructivist art movements of Latin America in the 20th century and particularly the work of artists Sandu Darie, Pedro Alvarez and Lygia Clark.

Donna is decorated with earth-toned limewash plaster, applied to the walls in geometric patterns that echo the brand’s visual identity.

Circular light fixture above the dining area  in Donna restaurant
Groth created wall hangings in collaboration with artisan cooperative The Anou

Exposed brickwork is painted white, forming a plain backdrop for the circular wool wall hangings that Groth created in collaboration with Moroccan artisan cooperative The Anou.

Together with wool floor rugs, these help to dampen the acoustics while lime plaster assists in regulating humidity, according to Groth.

The tables are crafted from reclaimed Douglas fir flooring and stained plywood was used to build the banquette seating that wraps the perimeter.

Bar-back shelving and floors were repurposed from the unit’s previous tenant, while the bar tops were fabricated by Brooklyn Stone and Tile – another worker-owned cooperative.

Reclaimed Douglas fir tables and stained plywood banquettes
Tables are crafted from reclaimed Douglas fir

“The use of any new materials was limited to those that are natural and biodegradable, keeping in mind the holistic effects of resource extraction, human health and equity, and circular material cycles,” the Donna team said.

Pendants lights above the bar have shades made from mushroom mycelium, which according to the team presents “an environmentally holistic approach to material creation that poetically reflects Donna’s equitable business model”.

Bar with mycelium pendant lights suspended above  in Donna restaurant
The pendant lights above the bar feature mycelium shades

New York City’s dining scene was upheaved during the pandemic, with many eating and drinking establishments forced to either adapt or shutter.

As a result, sidewalk dining shelters sprung up across the city, as documented in these photographs by John Tymkiw.

The photography is by Nicholas Ruiz.


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