Some of the creepers, including those in an internal brick planter, are showing healthy growth as they climb the walls, along with a singular tree responding to the generous afternoon light.
The original white canvas that features across the ceiling was also repurposed and painted white, as were the exposed ducts.
Mindful of taking the chill out of an all-white composition, March Studio also incorporated recycled timber shelves for the retail component of the building, along with reclaimed timber for the table tops in the cafe.
Soft grey leather banquette seating and limed cork walls, together with chairs designed by Dowel Jones, an Australian design and manufacturing company, provide a sense of tactility.
For those wanting a coffee served at the bar, there is a Corian U-shaped bench, referred to as the Mod Bar, complete with the latest coffee machine. For added sharpness, there is also a series of different LED lights throughout, providing a crispness to the ambience.
While most of the pleasure comes from the coffee and the fare that is served in the cafe, there is also a degree of entertainment watching the beans turn in the roaster machines next door, seeing them change colour as they move through their cycles.
Although Industry Beans Fitzroy is a new fit-out, there are numerous touchstones to the building’s past, including a chunky timber handrail in the foyer, along with “floating” terrazzo steps that recall the late 1960s. Even the concrete floors have not been too overworked to a polished finish, creating a highly appropriate, slightly gritty aesthetic.
What was a typical brown-brick factory and office is now a well-patronised modern cafe where everything is on show but discrete, rather than too overt.
“You want to be engaged with the process of producing coffee, but it’s all important to create a level of comfort and not be distracted by the sound of machinery,” Eggleston says.
Stephen Crafti is a specialist in contemporary design, including architecture, furniture, fashion and decorative arts.