2012 Melbourne Design Awards

Key Dates

Image Credit : Front Row Studios: Kurt Anniss and Nathan Barton Lvl 1, 468 Sydney Road, COBURG VIC 3058 WWW.FRONTROWSTUDIOS.COM.AU


Project Overview

The design for Hawk and Hunter café in Ripponlea is one that provokes and entices patrons with a quirky fitout synonymous with the Tommy Collins brand. The simplicity of the layout and the finish engenders a vibrant, warm space in an area crying out for quality food, coffee and atmosphere.

Project Commissioner

Tommy Collins Events

Project Creator

Perrett Ewert Leaf Pty Ltd






Project Brief

The brief was to convert a dank and darkly lit former Chinese restaurant with a catacomb of internal partitions into both a new café and a commercial kitchen for the client’s catering arm.
Sustainable materials that were durable yet inexpensive were a priority, as was brand reinforcement through shelves and cabinets that could hold produce to help create a specific brand of quality, place and service that is the backbone of the client's business now and moving forward.

The management of these two separate operations under the same roof was one of the major complexities of the project. With different timelines for opening, building trades had to be organized efficiently to avoid having to come back later in the project.

The client had a clear direction on look and feel and were keen to create a ‘little brother’ for their successful café in Brighton, the Little Ox.

Project Need

The reclaimed and recycled material in this project is testament to the fact that expensive finishes and deluxe joinery are not the only way to draw in consumers. The use of tactile objects and rustic joinery create an atmosphere that is warm and inviting as well as encourages interaction with both the staff and other customers. Added to this is the fact that sourced items and recycled materials are a good way of minimizing cost and achieving the desired style simultaneously, whilst subtle functional spatial separation to create a venue that would be a favorite, local and afar.

Design Challenge

The major challenge inherent in most hospitality jobs is managing the need to open quickly without compromising the quality of the end product. In this instance synergy between client, designer and builder was essential in achieving the built outcome given there were two separate functions opening at different stages.

Cost was also a factor in that the client had a keen vision, but this as a much bigger undertaking than their previous small cafe, so a clever design was needed to sustain their style.

A huge rustic dining table constructed of timber offcuts was used to theme the space and was then replicated as the main feature wall of the front café to complement the reclaimed timbers and natural ply finishes to loose tables and benches. This eclectic selection of joinery and wall finishes was balanced with polished concrete floors and a timber deck to the external areas, and re-used reinforced steel framed shelving.

A further layer of detail was added with sourced feature pieces, as well as a wall mural at the end of the dining room produced by a
local artist.


This project had a strong emphasis on sustainable materials, locally sourced objects and the use of a local artist for a rear feature wall. We wanted to use materials with low embodied energy such as reclaimed timber and recycled reinforcing mesh to create design elements within the space.

The dining table and feature wall were constructed with timber offcuts from construction sites, the existing concrete floor was polished to retain its natural feel, the servery was constructed of simple ply timber and recycled red bricks, and most feature artistic items were sourced locally.Overhead shelving was made of recycled steel reinforcing bars and timber offcuts to complete the warm and familiar feel.

This award recognises building interiors, with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation. Consideration given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.  

Judging Note : Judging for this category will be finalised on Monday 27th August and Finalists will be announced on Tuesday 28th August.

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