FÖDA, Michael Hsu and Chef Shawn Cirkiel Collaborate on Design of
New Radisson Restaurant
Celebrated Austin restaurateur, Chef Shawn Cirkiel, has partnered with design shop FÖDA Studio and renowned architecture firm Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to collaborate on the unique design for chavez, Chef Cirkiel’s new contemporary Southwestern restaurant located in the Radisson Hotel & Suites in downtown Austin. Scheduled to open in January 2014, chavez is housed in the space overlooking Lady Bird Lake that was previously occupied by TGI Fridays.
The design collaboration began more than a year ago with Cirkiel’s inspiration of Southwestern style, and flourished with the influence of FÖDA and Hsu into a modern yet inviting design featuring clean architectural lines, oversized windows with views of Lady Bird Lake, and a contemporary, warmly crafted design aesthetic highlighting innovative and one-of-a-kind details. Hsu’s office and FÖDA collaborated with Cirkiel and the Radisson on the architecture specifics, as well as the scope and vision for the interior design.
“From the beginning, we’ve been working with Michael’s office, which is such a privilege. And I’m a big fan of Shawn’s, so it’s been a great collaboration with him,” said Jett Butler, FÖDA founder and creative director. “We feel very fortunate to be a part of this project.”
Particularly striking are the artistic details throughout chavez, including the unique entryway, which includes a backlit foyer etched with a pattern using the letters from the restaurant’s name — a nod to Cesar Chavez Street, where the restaurant overlooks Lady Bird Lake, as well as a reference to the Southwestern-style menu Cirkiel is creating. The foyer includes each letter stacked in different ways and weights, making reference to Mesoamerican textiles and culture. This innovative style was carried over throughout the restaurant, including dining room lighting fixtures made to evoke the letter “C,” and in the locally built wine case that plays off the chevron pattern in the foyer. The dining room is subtly separated from the bar with vertical light flats, and rich materials and colors, creative light fixtures and upholstery design, and light wood elements can be found throughout chavez.
“One challenge involved figuring out how to make the restaurant space inside a hotel feel very local and unique. So we used a lot of different materials: wood, steel and rich tiles to separate chavez in a way that’s tactile, in a way you can sense and feel,” said Brien Strelau, project designer with Hsu Office of Architecture. “We also wanted to make the most of what is a premier site. It’s not often you get to design a space that overlooks Lady Bird Lake. So we did things like use lighter colored woods and opened it up with lots of glass. We wanted it to appeal to people nationally and internationally while making it a very Austin restaurant.”
Indeed, both FÖDA and Hsu’s team insisted on working with and utilizing locally sourced products and services—from the materials used, to the craftsmanship of each design element—a tenet that will also be reflected in Chef Cirkiel’s menu choices for chavez.
chavez, Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s latest culinary adventure, is a contemporary Southwestern restaurant located in the Radisson Hotel & Suites at 111 Cesar Chavez St. in downtown Austin. Scheduled to open in January 2014, chavez was designed in collaboration with Chef Cirkiel, the Radisson, design studio FÖDA and architecture firm Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.