2018 Eat Drink Design Awards: Best Coffee Design


Jury comment

There is so much a lot in this project to like. The jury appreciates how design is a response to space, above all, embracing the building’s heritage with sensitivity and giving it new life, without being subject to trends. Detaching the new entity from the shell creates tension and interest, while the tones, textures and layers are enveloping and soothing. The raw materiality of the masonry harmonizes with the rich tones of leather, bringing a sense of richness and comfort, as well as small bursts of curiosity. Connecting the inside with the outside adds to the thoughtful and holistic atmosphere and helps to anchor the cafe. There is a nice balance between the grid and the structured, the soft and generous, the comforting and the surprising. Overall, it feels like a place you’d like to be.

Design statement

Bentwood pays homage to the ancient custodians of space and the site’s historic archetype as a furniture workshop and later as a Thonet furniture showroom. The cafe is furnished with iconic Thonet pieces and beautifully detailed woodwork. The robust materiality of the restaurant was informed by the existing facade of the site and the surrounding environment. As a result, the interior reflects Fitzroy’s brutalist industrial heritage through the use of primed steel wall coverings and ceiling panels. The space is embedded in the original heritage facade, made of red pressed bricks and old stucco. An adjacent lane lined with brick pavers runs underfoot, while concrete columns rise to a ceiling grid primed in red oxide. The ceiling grid partitions the space, creating pockets of light and shade, volume and privacy.

Bentwood Cafe
237 Napier Street
Fitzroy Vic 3065
+61 3 9419 1614

Ritz and Ghougassian
Project team: Jean-Paul Ghougassian, Gilad Ritz
5/589 Malvern Road
Toorak Vic 3142
+61 3 9824 0051

See the entire image gallery at the Eat Drink Design Awards website.

The Eat Drink Design Awards 2018 are organized by Architecture media and supported by a major partner Shadowfax wines; support partners Euro Cave, Laminex, Latitude, Own world, Expected coverage, Roca, Schiavello, Was; and event partners Four pillars, Sample and San Pellegrino.

The Eat Drink Design Awards are supported by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Australian Institute of Design.

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