COLD DRIP TRIP
Barista & Cook:
834 Bourke St, Waterloo NSW
(02) 8399 1234 or baristaandcook.com.au
We check in on Alan Thompson, owner of Barista & Cook, about the design of his new ‘dream café’.
“I was originally looking for a warehouse to convert into a café, but when this site (the ex-Hurricanes Express in Waterloo) came up for Barista & Cook, I knew it was the right place. A space that felt airy and open without feeling too empty — I wanted something that was big and light, but at the same time would feel intimate. The location also played a big part in my decision. It’s a wonderful corner site on busy Bourke St, with high windows all around and natural light streaming in.
“My brief to Giant Design was to give the place a Scandinavian feel using natural materials, textures, and tones. I wanted a welcoming space with a soft touch, lots of white and utilising the natural light streaming in. I always think people feel their most comfortable and relaxed in spaces that are simple, light and clean. The site is huge so I wanted various styles of seating to break the place up, lots of plants to soften the space and to bring the outside in. I wanted it to feel like a homely space, so it was important to get the seating right, and Giant really nailed that. It was actually a challenge to fill the sheer height and volume of the space. To do this, we hung plants from hooks all through the open rafter system, which we painted all white.
“Everything was chosen with a clean, natural look in mind: the tables are a natural sanded hardwood with a matte finish, the cushions are linen with tan leather seating — in terms of new elements, upholstery was key — and there is timber slatted wall panelling. The bench top is made to look like a butcher’s block, using individual squares of wood with the grain facing up. We brought in a mosaic tile as a feature element, as well as rustic hand-glazed rippled tiles for the huge columns.
“It really is my dream café. I stand in there every day and look around at this beautiful space and it brings a genuine smile to my face.”
Chris Wilks from Giant Design describes how the site ‘saw the light’: “The main challenge was to de-brand the old site, which was a night-time, fast food space — dark and industrial. We needed something a lot lighter and fresher, so changing everything that was once black to white was a no-brainer!
“What we have now at Barista & Cook is straddling two genres — industrial/warehouse, and Scandi. It does retain that warehouse feel so it gives the Scandi vibe something more Australian, less feminine. It’s comfortable and clean, but not too minimal.”