Seasonal And Sustainable Design in Melbourne
The commitment to seasonality and sustainability of Hunters’ Roots Café and Juice Bar in Melbourne’s Katherine Place is evident in its honest and fresh design. Kitayama K Architects were called on to create an environment which aligned with the food philosophy of owners Jeffrey and Kerry Chew.
Responding to a brief for a modern, clean aesthetic, Architect Kei Kitayama has created an interior inspired by wooden fruit crates used in abstract form. The crates fill the spaces, creating an immersive, almost cave-like sculptural form, yet one that is produced from simple and straight geometric shapes. The result is a clean and controlled spatial experience.
The clever design also maximizes the limited space by turning practical fixtures into decorative features. The lights, cupboards and shelving contribute to the design concept and sculptural visual.
A light, yet warm colour palate has been achieved by using paulownia and American hard maple throughout the space, which have both been further lightened with a lime wash. Some of the crates suspended from the ceiling double as light fittings, creating a shadows that adds depth and interest to the interior.
Paulownia hardwood was chosen for the crates suspended from the ceiling. The lightweight timber did not require additional steel structure and installation was relatively simple. However, the remaining joinery and lower crates are formed from American hard maple. Kitayama was familiar with the robustness of hard maple from a previous project. It is a species that has a tight smooth grain and is popular for use in high traffic areas – most famously in basketball courts.
Orio Bundi, from Arteveneta Joinery said that the choice of maple was primarily for its light hue but also describes the hard-wearing timber as “soft to the touch” which was important in achieving the overall immersive experience.
Kitayama says of his design: “Our decision was to use an abstract form of timber crates, to avoid being too literal. We wanted to give the patrons a chance to decide what they represented. Are they fruit and vegetable crates or do they look more like fruit peels. It’s a playful concept”
Kerry Chew comments “Kei has exceeded our expectations. What we love most about our space is that it is striking when seen as a whole design yet clean, inviting and cosy for our customers to relax in”. She goes on to add that the hand finished joinery detail “adds a very tactile and solid feel to our small space”.
Project: Hunters’ Roots Café
Client: Jeffrey and Kerry Chew
Location: 26 Katherine Place, Melbourne, Australia
Architect: Kei Kitayama
Contractor / Joiner: Orio Bundi, Ian Reid, Arteveneta
Photography: Itsuka Studio
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is the leading international trade organisation for the American Hardwood Industry, representing the committed exporters amongst American hardwood companies. AHEC runs a worldwide programme to promote American hardwoods in over 50 export markets, concentrating on providing architects, specifiers, designers and end users with technical information on the range of species, products and sources of supply. In addition AHEC also produces a full range of technical publications.
About American hard maple:
American hard maple has a creamy white sapwood with a slight reddish tinge, while the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The percentage of white sapwood available varies according to the growing region. The wood has a close fine texture and is generally straight grained, but can occur as ‘curly’, ‘fiddleback’, and ‘birdseye’ figure. American hard maple is ideal for high traffic flooring applications such as theatres, concert halls, gymnasiums and basket ball courts. It is also used for furniture and joinery. The wood is hard and heavy with good strength properties, in particular its high resistance to abrasion and wear. It has good steam bending properties.
Select a species:
- American alder
- American ash
- American aspen
- American basswood
- American beech
- American yellow birch
- American cherry
- American cottonwood
- American elm
- American gum
- American hackberry
- American hickory & pecan
- American hard maple
- American soft maple
- American red oak
- American white oak
- American sycamore
- American tulipwood
- American walnut
- American willow