Acclaimed Melbourne designer Chris Connell got the red light to design an intimate Italian-style cafe, connected to a flashy car emporium.
We wanted to give Caffe Veloce a strong look after the site in South Yarra was developed and attached to a car showroom.
Everything gleams in the showroom, with lots of natural light and white flooring, so the cafe needed to be the opposite—warm and inviting. Somewhere that patrons can hide away and have a cup of coffee or a great pasta.
Most of the cars next door have a retro look—vintage Porsches, Alfa Romeos, Fiats and other classics. I was attracted to the detailing of these cars so Caffe Veloce was an adaptation of that concept.
For example, we used a diamond detailing pattern in different finishes and on all surfaces—including the timber panelled walls, painted walls, bar and the poured quartz flooring. In most instances, the pattern is accented by a bronze strip or angle. In the instance of the bar, the bronze sheet itself is cut into diamond panels.
I wanted the cafe to have a sense of integrity and to celebrate the tradition of making handmade pastries, cakes and fabulous food. Materials, such as the patina on the bronze bar, were used to evoke an aged quality.
Painted walls are a rich deep purple, and a squiggle of thin, white neon gently lights the space. Combined with the dark timber veneer and bronze, it provides a strong contrast to the brightly lit showroom.
We’ve used a signature MAP International ‘Oak’ chair, which has been in production for more than 20 years. It is understated—comfortable, compact and on budget.
The construction process took a lot longer than the design concept. When we first got the project, the site was still being built. So it took about 15 to 18 months before we could actually get on site.
Overall, I think Caffe Veloce has a very Melbourne feel. It’s great working with people like owner Mauro Marcucci, who likes creating a very casual,
I love eating out and it’s great to go to places I’ve designed. I always go where the food and the service is good. Interiors are important but not the main attraction. It helps the journey, but good service, good food, wine, produce and company is far more important.
9-11 Claremont Street
South Yarra, Victoria.
Call (03) 8080 9995
Chris Connell Design
78 St Kilda Road
St Kilda, Victoria
Call (03) 8598 2222