The new Chaz on the Plaza
Mary Madden and Connie Church-Fey were charged with transforming the historic Raphael’s original restaurant into the new Chaz on the Plaza. The client’s overarching vision for Chaz was to make it stand out as a uniquely Kansas City destination dining establishment. “Our mission was to respect The Raphael’s unique history and architecture while giving its signature dining room new vitality and purpose,” says Madden. “We wanted to give the new restaurant some pop while being mindful of The Raphael’s place and position. Maintaining integrity of style of such an architectural treasure was important,” adds Church-Fey.
Madden and Church-Fey sought balance between classic beauty and energetic vibe through use of contrasting colors and textures. Natural walnut millwork frames a refined palette of pale yellows, champagne, bronze, silver and platinum with splashes of red. Rich, regal textures are combined with touches of bling to create a sense of club-like intimacy tinged with intrigue. Antiqued bronzed mirrors set against polished granite surfaces on the bar and windows serve to expand the room and offer patrons unexpected views of the Plaza in reflected angles from different vantage points.
Chaz’s focal point is a one-of-a-kind original photographic mural that layers Plaza architectural landmarks in a montage. Church-Fey incorporated vintage and current photographs, including some by an emerging photographer whose innovative work is creating a stir. “The mural is dramatic in technique and visually compelling,” says Church-Fey. “Guests will see something new every time they look at it.” Similarly, Church-Fey added unique local culture by creating a giclée from a commissioned photo of a terra cotta warrior standing guard at the Sister Cities International Bridge (an exact replica from archaelogical discovery in Xi’an, China dating back to the 3rd century B.C. and donated by the Xi’an Sister Cities Committee). Another unique feature of the room is the use of custom-designed translucent panels embedded with tints and digital graphic images. They serve functional and aesthetic purposes in four areas of the room.