The Proxi is located in the West Loop, a neighbourhood on the western bank of the Chicago River that was formerly a centre for manufacturing. Today, many of the areas warehouse buildings have been transformed into eateries, bars and art galleries.
Adding to this hub, Meyer Davis has transformed the ground floor of a building previously occupied by Werner Printing Company into a restaurant.
The 14-foot-high (4.2 metre) barrel-vaulted ceiling of the former print works has been refreshed with white tiles, while glossy blue tiles in a vertical soldier stack cover the columns.
Walls are covered with white washed oak panelling and sage green painted decorative mouldings. This decor provides a neutral backdrop for black and dark navy furnishings with accents of burnt orange.
Although employing the same material palette throughout, Meyer Davis has broken the expansive 5,900-square-foot (548-square-metre) restaurant into distinct areas.
Each area is decorated differently with custom-made and contemporary furniture and lighting. Nods to modernist design can be seen with large steel lights and sleek black chairs, while other decorations are souvenirs from restaurant co-owner Emmanuel Nony’s travels.
Meyer Davis likens the eclectic effect to the restaurant’s menu, which chef Andrew Zimmerman based on global street food. The studio described the restaurant as a “melting pot of flavours both in design and cuisine”.
The bar is marked out with custom-made black, blue and white floor tiles. Elevated seating is placed in windows on either side of the curved central bar, with leather-covered lights hanging above.
The bar has a white stone top and a brass-like base covered in black padding. Terracotta pots line the top shelf of the drinks cabinet behind as a nod to the colour theme.
A cosy seating area in a booth behind the bar is furnished with orange and blue sofas and can be partitioned with curtains.
Other nooks include a series of leather booths that are arranged beneath a wall of mirrors, while the main dining room contains benches covered in navy leather, black chairs and wooden tables, with views into the kitchen through a large window.
A pale wooden cabinet on the rear wall provides storage for wine bottles. This cabinet is built around the opening to a private dining room.
Externally the studio rebuilt the steel facade framing the large street-facing windows to return the building to its original form and bring plenty of natural light into the restaurant.
Boutique hotelier Ace Hotel also recently opened a mid-century-style outpost in the area.
Photography is by Dave Burk.
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