Eat Drink Design Awards 2020 reveals Australia’s most beautiful café

Eat Drink Design Awards 2020

There Café in Footscray, Victoria, has won Best Café Design in the 2020 Eat Drink Design Awards.

Housed in a 19th-century wool store, previously known as the longtime headquarters of book publisher Lonely Planet, There Café’s pared-back interior celebrates the site’s industrial character while softly layering new interventions.

“There Café makes dramatic yet sensitive use of its heritage location. Executed with impressive restraint by Ewert Leaf, this buzzing inner-west meeting spot is a place where our jury could happily imagine settling in for a long afternoon to drink coffee with friends,” reads the jury citation.

“Premium finishes share a subtle, uniform colour palette, with steel beams, leather banquettes, polished concrete and industrial light fittings accentuating the soaring, almost floor-to-ceiling windows that draw in waves of natural light. There’s a softness to the design that plays off the grandness of the original building. The rich textures and discoverable layers feel unforced, giving an easy sensibility and sophistication to the venue. While many café fitouts can quickly feel dated, There has a patina that will age well into the future.”

Commendations were given to Mr Frankie, The Beach House, and Café La Fayette in Victoria, and Dopa by Devon in New South Wales.

Dopa was awarded Best Identity Design, recognising the individuality and identity of the donburi café and milk bar, which incorporates elements of manga culture among other flourishes.

Cassie Hansen, editor of Artichoke and Eat Drink Design Award jury chair, says this year’s winners evoked a sense of architectural nostalgia and a healthy sentimentality for the past.

“From a natural wine room in Adelaide, reminiscent of a classic European bar, to an Art Deco style-hotel exuding old-world elegance, this year’s award winners evoked a nostalgia for the past,” Cassie says.

“Pining for the days when we could visit our favourite restaurants, cafés, and bars, the jury was drawn to venues with sentimentality and tradition at their core, but executed in a contemporary way. This year’s exemplary field of winners successfully remember and celebrate the times of the past but forge a new future; one we can’t wait to explore.”

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