In Melbourne, venue owners now recognise the value that a strong architecture and design team can bring to a café and casual dining space. A well-designed hospitality space can ultimately drive traffic – and sales – through the doors, and sustain the buzz for the long term. So, here’s our roundup of the 5 top cafés in Melbourne right now. Written by Annie Reid.
The Crux & Co
35 Albert Rd, South Melbourne
‘Raw & Refined’ styling at The Crux & Co by Architects EAT
This ambitious café is designed by Architects EAT, and owned by Kevin Li with an unusual Korean-and-pastry menu. According to the architects: “The design of the café has been focused around the customer experience, and the palette of the interior and exterior is a balance between raw and refined.” There’s form and materiality from the sixties, plus a clever ‘sunny library’ of deep pivoting bookcases. The Crux & Co is designed to cater for 100-plus patrons, with a double kitchen for extra foot traffic on weekends.
The Crux & Co by Architects EAT
Greenfields Albert Park
35/37 Lakeside Dr, Melbourne
Greenfields, Lakeside Drive
Melbourne DJ and club owner, Simon Digby owns this large new space facing Albert Park Lake. With panoramic water views, Greenfields is designed by Alex Zabotto-Bentley, whose team at AZBCreative has refurbished part of a former golf house to create a relaxed boho vibe inspired by piazzas, town squares and Mediterranean travels, underpinned by Melbourne’s quintessential European heritage. The challenge was paying tribute to the original industrial style, while adding softness to enhance the interior without disrupting the view.
Greenfields by AZBCreative
Shop 1, 30 Collins St, Melbourne
Sensory Lab by Foolscap Studio, Photo Credit: Eugene Hyland
With a number of outposts since 2009, Sensory Lab is now a standalone café with a premier position on Collins Street. Owned by coffee maestro, Salvatore Malatesta, the café is designed by Foolscap Studio, which has described it as a “machine for living”. The design is geared to create a sense of high-tech calm for city workers, with iPads along the countertops, a proliferation of cork and stainless steel, plus a large toaster that resembles a conveyor belt.
Design for the senses at Sensory Lab, Photo Credit: Eugene Hyland
Grange Road Egg Shop
1 Grange Rd, Toorak
Cheekily named with an interior partly inspired by the imperfect surfaces of the humble egg, this brand new café is a 97-seat eatery designed by DB Architecture. Creative consultant, Adam Wilkinson, said the goal is to serve “food that makes people happy” and the interior certainly follows suit with a dreamy pastel palette, furnishings from Fritz Hansen and a striking custom installation by street artist, Deams.
Grange Road Egg Shop by DB Architecture, Photo Credit: Carmen Zammit
150 Rooks Rd, Nunawading
Nunawading, in Melbourne’s outer east, hosts a crisp and clean café that experiments with computational geometry inspired by the neighborhood’s industrial character. Designed by Biasol: Design Studio, Little Hugh offers a variety of options for patrons, including cosy dining pods, minimalist tables and banquettes, plus a showpiece L-shaped service counter and coffee machine. Designer Jean-Pierre Biasol said: “This project was a chance for our studio to experiment with cutting-edge production technology alongside using 3D software.”
Inside Little Hugh by Biasol: Design Studio, Image Credit: Ari Hatzis
Looking for more on trends in architecture and design for your establishment? Check out our sister event, DesignBUILD, coming to Sydney from 3 – 5 May.