A Little Ray
of Sunshine

Bowen Holden
Melbourne, CBD
Ben Glezer & Nico Alary

Tucked away in the legal quarter of Melbourne, Patricia is an unassuming espresso bar that channels the tradition of the standing-room only format, while also pioneering the concept for Melbourne – being the first of its kind in the coffee crazed city. Run by coffee expert Bowen Holden and named after his grandmother, Patricia is a space where simplicity, honesty and tradition spill through in abundance. The small project activates an otherwise less popular corner of Melbourne’s hospitality scene.

Across graphic and interior treatments, customer approach and of course, the coffee, attention to detail was key across every touchpoint of the small footprint space. Liberally referencing the espresso bars of Italy, the space is underpinned by dark stained timber joinery by local craftsman Kyran Starcevich. Marble bench tops and brass detailing create add further richness and old world materiality to serving and display areas.

Working with graphic design studio Beyond The Pixels, a custom mosaic tiled threshold bears “standing room only” – spiritedly informing customers of what to expect, while adding a further nod to the material sensibilities of old. In contrast, neon signage hangs suspended from the ceiling as a more contemporary installation.

Given the tight space, Patricia also presented a series of logistical challenges, requiring Foolscap to devise innovative solutions to storage and amenity requirements. A trap door in the service area cleverly conceals the required equipment, a cleaner’s sink is hidden in a cupboard, and window sills were adapted to create bespoke running benches for customers to perch. Overall Patricia is a small but often celebrated addition to the cultural fabric of Melbourne’s CBD.

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