Already responsible for the designs of Uchi, Fino, Malverde, and La Condesa, Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture can now add another notch to its belt of local restaurants. The firm collaborated with brand development company FÖDA Studio to design chavez, a new eatery that began serving modern southwestern cuisine in the Radisson in early February.
Little about the space suggests its previous incarnation as a TGI Fridays. Nearby Lady Bird Lake can be seen through floor-to-ceiling windows, while diners seated in one of the bar’s plush white seats are greeted by views of the Radisson’s pool. Wood pervades the interior, punctuated by occasional tiled surfaces used in part to highlight the more intimate booth seating areas that surround the central dining hall.
FÖDA took its inspiration from the aesthetics of Mesoamerican textiles and pottery in creating the typographical motif found throughout the space. Stylized letters from the restaurant’s name coat a backlit entryway foyer. The same symbols make an appearance beneath the glass tops of wooden dining tables. The project was several years in the making; conceived when chavez chef Shawn Cirkiel was approached by the Radisson and offered complete creative control in updating the hotel’s eating options. From both an architectural and gastronomic perspective, the resulting effort is a step forward from its casual dining predecessor and a sign of Austin’s maturity.