Sensory Lab

Machine for (Caffeine) Living

Sensory Lab
Melbourne CBD
Retail, Hospitality
Tom Blachford

High Commendation, Eat Drink Design Awards 2017, Best Cafe Design
Shortlisted, AIDA Awards 2017, Hospitality
Shortlisted, INDE Awards 2017, The Social Space (Hospitality)

Activating ground plane at the Collins Street site, the design responds to the ritual of the morning coffee in the context of the modernist architecture of the site. The concept is a ‘deconstructed’ yet refined experience that diverges from the standard coffee shops of Melbourne. In the spirit of the history of the site, here the aim is to create a sense of order between human and machine – patrons are greeted by a finely tuned coffee production space, a micro factory for all things coffee. A nod also to Japanese Modernist efficiency and the ritual of ceremony.

Reminiscent of a 20th Century electronics lab, the exterior vignetted windows form the point of service where staff and customer interact. However inside the ‘vending machine’ facade a human element is revealed, bringing analogue language to the customer interaction. The production line style counter serves speciality toast, teas and of course coffee recalling the ideals of maximum efficiency that modernism stood for, all within a simple and warm architecture.

Materials that represented ‘high tech’ in modern times like stainless steel, suspended translucent canopies and marmoleum marry 20th Century ideas with the new; the low tech with the high tech. Clean, strong and utilitarian furniture maintains a form follows function approach.

The clean, crisp and structured design result creates efficiency through technology. Here the design brings a new take on Melbourne coffee through the Sensory Lab experience.

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