Melbourne cafe Industry Beans wins top international design award

The award-winning interior features painted shipping pallets.
The award-winning interior features painted shipping pallets. Photo: Eddie Jim

Fitzroy cafe-roastery Industry Beans has won the UK and International Cafe Award at the 2013-2014 British Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, announced in London on September 25.

Industry Bean's design beat seven other shortlisted cafes including Richmond's Top Paddock, by Melbourne firm Six Degrees, and venues in Norway, Germany, Greece, China and the UK.

Architect Matt Rawlins from Melbourne's Figureground Architecture designed the fitout. He says the challenge presented by the brand-new tilt-slab warehouse shell "was to bring warmth and intimacy to a vast industrial space with a limited budget."

The cafe's outdoor dining area.
The cafe's outdoor dining area. Photo: Supplied

"Our strategy was to maximise the potential for natural light from the roller door and to reduce the overall volume without losing the unique sense of height," he says.

The tall, narrow dining space was inspired by the intimacy of Melbourne's laneways, says Rawlins.

The fitout uses transparent polycarbonate to let light in, and black-painted shipping pallets to create a wall above the galley kitchen. The wall hides upstairs offices and a cupping room.

Painted pallets also form the ceiling of the tall dining space and enclose an outdoor dining area on the warehouse's concrete forecourt.

A roastery and coffee storage area occupy the back of the dining hall. Industry's Trevor Simmons says: "We designed the space to be transparent, with an open-plan roasting room and brew bar. When you take a seat you can watch the whole process, from how we select our beans right through to the roasting, profiling and extraction."

The awards – the only international awards dedicated to the design of food and drink spaces – attract entries from around the world, and this year featured high-profile architects including Zaha Hadid and Conran and Partners, as well as Australia's Pascale Gomes-McNabb.

In May the Industry Beans fitout won the award for Best Hospitality Design at the 2014 Australian Interior Design Awards.

See restaurantandbardesign.com for the full list of award winners.