Transforming a heritage-listed Hobart building into a designer cafe called for clever zoning and slick surfaces.
The idea of the cafe was the sense of being in Salamanca—one of the most iconic areas of Tasmania. It’s a historic area with sandstone buildings and cobbled courtyards. So they [owners Tom and Jan Otte] wanted something that was relaxing and sat well within the area.
Zum Salamanca is in a heritage-listed building, so no extensions were done and the exterior was not altered; it was just painted. It already had a beautiful old sandstone wall that ran outside into the courtyard, so that was the grounding of the design concept. The sandstone wall was covered up with plasterboard, so we started by having it sandblasted off.
The owners [who also run Zum North bakery in North Hobart, designed by architect Stuart Tanner with interior design by Bury and Kirkland] were fairly open with the design—within budget! The project took about six months.
The look was dictated by the sandstone walls and existing concrete floor, which was repolished. This type of flooring can be stark, but because of the richness of the sandstone, you don’t see coldness here.
The cafe was to appeal to a wide range of clientele. Since it’s an eclectic group of individuals, we divided the cafe into different spaces. You have the cafe and bar area at the front, casual dining at the back and outdoor areas in front and back.
The sandstone wall continues outside. Here, the birds have started inhabiting the nooks and crannies. It’s lovely in spring.
The cafe is a hip, happening place with different furniture that suits each zone. We designed a lot of the furniture, including the large banquette and stools, all made by Maypole Upholstery (call (03) 6228 0353).
We utilised dark, rich colours around the outside of the area where staff make coffee. The palette includes toffee, caramel, charcoal and cream—colours that come out of a good coffee. The lighting gives a warm ambience, particularly the Coral pendant lights designed by New Zealand’s David Trubridge (www.davidtrubridge.com). Artwork adds a personal touch, including work by local artist Tom Samek.
One of the challenges was that the cafe dimensions were long and skinny. The owners wanted lots of people in there, so we had to make sure the tables were cleverly positioned, with enough room for staff to manoeuvre and serve.
The cafe scene in Hobart underwent a transformation about 15 years ago. Back then, you could hardly find a decent coffee. Things have changed now. People are embracing the cafe lifestyle, and Zum is a great example. I think it speaks for itself—it’s always hard to get a table, particularly at 8am on the weekends.”
29 Salamanca Place
Battery Point, TAS 7004
Phone: (03) 6223 2323
Bury and Kirkland
(Caroline Bury and
18a Gregory Street
Sandy Bay, TAS 7005
Phone: (03) 6224 5937
Fax: (03) 6224 3868