2012 Sydney Design Awards

Key Dates

Photo Credit : Ian Carlson at Ian Carlson Photography www.iancarlsonphotography.com.au

Project Overview

“Breadtop” has become a household name that is known for its well formed business model, specializing in self-serve bakeries. With its doors first opening to the public in 2002, Breadtop has become a nationwide success. To date, they have established over 60 stores across Australia, combining Asian and Western cultures to cultivate a fusion-style identity. This exciting combination of two cultures has sparked the interest of consumers and has driven their brand to a new frontier.
To elevate their branding presence, a bold approach to design was adopted. Strength in design was translated throughout the store with a unique selection of materials and a color palette inspired by the products. Warm toned timber was paired with smooth white stone to form a cohesive whole that complemented the scale and context of the shopping center. The atypical configuration of the site proved to be a difficult hurdle that was overcome by implementing the use of reflective materials and glazing to extend the space. Lighting features are made to draw the eye further into the space, allowing patrons to engage with the sum of the store. These tools were strategically applied amongst the shop to lengthen the space.

Project Commissioner

Bread City Pty Ltd

Project Creator

Rptecture Architects


Shopfitter: Metro Deco Construction Pty Ltd
Structural Engineer: LPoon & Associates
Rptecture: Vincent Choi, Ruth Tjitra

Project Brief

As a fast paced, self serve bakery, a large faction of the brief is awarded to the layout and practicality of the space. The design of Breadtop had to cater for the large influx of people. Accessibility to their products and good visibility to the full length of the shop was paramount in creating a lasting impact on customers. The brief was to create a visually dynamic store to generate interest and sales, whilst maintaining the functionality that everyday operations demanded. To provide its customers with greater comfort and convenience, a dine-in option was created. Seating areas have been designated adjacent to the vision panel to the kitchen, allowing interaction between customers and the bakers. Inspired by the baking process, the finishes reflect warm, golden tones. Their corporate color, orange, is used in various mediums such as the powder coated aluminum piping along the sills and bulkhead, the orange 2pac substrate behind the feature wall, powder coated pendant lights and the orange hues emitted from the lighting feature at the rear of the tenancy. The lighting of the store has been designed to highlight the products whilst providing an overall luminance that permeates to the outside of the premises.

Project Innovation / Need

The direction to Breadtop Hornsby’s concept was a decorative and open planned approach that went further than the shop front. A holistic design was formulated and applied throughout the entirety of site. The idea of an open, unconfined space has been conceived and was created to enhance the relationship between the shopper and the products. This concept provokes people to participate and directly interact with the shop. A vision panel between the dine-in area and the kitchen promotes the interest and familiarity of their products to those curious. Customers witness the products being crafted in a comfortable seating area. The composition is fashioned to allow maximum intimacy with the back of house without directly imposing into the space. Custom made furniture added to the unique environment that invites people to explore the surrounding decorative and innovative features. The existing ceiling was lowered above this area to provide a change in scale to form an alluring atmosphere. Patrons experience a shift in scale which transforms the space from a typical retailer to an exciting and dynamic experience.
The existing tenancy wall that forms part of the shopping center’s corridor is utilized to its full potential. Taking advantage of this opportunity, a secondary light box feature is used to integrate the rest of the center with the site. Inserted within this feature is a glazing panel that attracts those walking by to look into the store. This increases visibility that would otherwise be lost due to the limited shop front.

Design Challenge

Situated in an unconventional tenancy space, the design challenge was to overcome the lack of visibility, created by the angled walls. The existing configuration disallowed a clear sightline to the back of the shop, which had the potential to cause a loss of interest from passerbys. To draw the eye into the furthest corner of the store, a feature light box has been constructed above the vision panel. This feature doubles in use by illuminating the darkest area and providing ambient lighting to the dine-in space. This application of lighting and reflective material effectively broadens the inner quarter of the site. Other applications to usher the eye past the shop front are the timber slatted bulkhead and the portal frame elements along the wall. Accentuating the distinctive angles of the shop, the powder coated underside of the bulkhead underscores the unique crook of the site.
Due to the narrow width of the tenancy, it was imperative that the eyes of the shopper are drawn to an object to avoid the shop being overlooked. The portal frame elements act as a guide to focus the eye from the shop front to the back of the shop. It serves as a geodetic datum that sets a rhythm within the interior. An existing, large structural column is situated within the space. Situated amid the portal frames, the obstructive presence of the column is diluted and has been clad with slivers of timber and mirror.


The use of sustainable resources has been well considered in this project. It was with strict consideration to durability, sustainability and the recyclable properties that each material was chosen. We ensured that the materials the shop fitter sourced from each company had the environmental policies implemented wherever possible. For the timber company, certification schemes and forest product purchasing programs must be in place. The materials purchased are from sustainable resources that are from well managed forests which provide significant environmental and economical benefits to communities.
A material heavily used throughout the project is an acrylic solid surface that has been applied to the bench tops and display cabinets of Breadtop. It is made from post industrial recyclable content and has been independently assessed by Ecospecifier. This contributes to the Green Star Credit Points of this material. Forming a substantial fraction of all materials used, it was ensured that this product emits low VOC's, contributing to better indoor air quality. The substrate behind this material is a melamine particleboard. It has been classified as non-hazardous according to the criteria of Worksafe Australia and has been extensively tested to the Australian and European Union Standards.
Another sustainable material used in the project is stainless steel. This eco-friendly product requires little maintenance or harsh chemicals to clean its surface. As a result, fewer chemicals are being deposited down the drain. It is 100% recyclable and has a long life span, thus, it has a low total life cost.

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.
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