2012 Sydney Design Awards

Key Dates

Photo Credit : Ian Carlson Photography australiangallery.com

Project Overview

Since 2002, “Breadtop” has established a chain of rapidly growing self-serve bakeries, an idea that has become widely popular among the masses. With over 60 stores nationwide, they have developed a well formed and profitable business model that combines efficiency and quality. Their branding identity is hugely reliant on a bold and consistent design layout that caters for their fast pace operation and exciting aesthetical goal. For this reason, Centro had invited the client to open a store within their Bankstown shopping center. With the best location offered, this store had many shop fronts that serve as both advantages and drawbacks.

The success of this project was based on the place-making approach to design and looked beyond the brief. The material palette was analyzed and made to capture the eye. With the strong use of warm toned timber combined with sleek, cool stone the materials form a cohesive whole that complemented the scale and context of the shopping center. The notion of the traditional, stationary store has been challenged with the idea of an innovative and engaging form. Inspiration has been drawn from the concept of holography and translated throughout the store.

Project Commissioner


Project Creator

Rptecture Architects


Shopfitter : Martin Jin, TD Shopfitting
Building surveyor: Harry Cheuk, Advance Building Strategies
Rptecture: Vincent Choi. Rachel Moon and David Fung

Project Brief

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. The design was to steer clear of the typical two dimensional stores that are seen throughout the center, and to create a layering effect through depth and movement.

Located in a key position with an island like presence, Breadtop was to become an anchor store within Centro. The brief was to create a visually dynamic store to generate interest and sales, whilst maintaining the functionality that everyday operations demanded.

1.4m high bread tiers bordering the lease line serve as an interface between the tenancy and the mall, eliminating the need for full height glazing or walls. Adding the first layer of depth, it is constructed from glass, stone and mirror finishes. The tiers disappear and the products within seem to float. Vivid lighting features and the bustling atmosphere inside the store filter through this transparent display. The concept of an un-walled space has been pushed beyond the brief, resulting in the full exposure of the front of house to the mall.

Project Innovation / Need

The entirety of the site has been skinned and treated to form a stimulating tactile experience. Unrivaled innovations have been investigated and used to fabricate movement. Holography is a technique that uses the light scattered from a point and is later reconstructed through the eye as a moving object. The image morphs as the orientation of the viewer changes. This concept has been explored and reinterpreted in the feature wall. A light box has been concealed behind a series of fin like structures that obscure or expose light, depending on the sight line. As the patrons approach the shop from different angles and traffic directions, the graphics slowly reveals itself. Light emitted from the feature wall intensifies where the viewing angle is perpendicular to the shop. Located on two facades, the graphic cut-out appears and diminishes as the orientation of the viewer changes. This has been designed to create another level of dimension beyond the shop front. As there is no glazing or partitions at the shop front, the individual items of the store add effect to the layering of depth.

A dynamic and interactive fit out engages the customer. Unexpected and exciting, this concept brings a new outcome to the market, creating a local landmark that is easily identifiable. Taking advantage of the open space, conversations, smells and sounds emanate to the rest of the center. The ambiance of the store is able to be encapsulated throughout the mall.

Design Challenge

Due to the unusual site frontage, the design challenge was to treat each facade with different approaches that gel together to form a coherent design. Although this was a challenge, the site constraint also served as an opportunity to utilize the atypical multi-faceted area. Given the location, it was paramount that the design of each facade interacts with pedestrians. All four shop fronts have been designed to address the shopper directly. In addition to the transparent bread tiers, a vision panel has been installed at the adjacent wall. This glazing engages the mall shoppers and allows them to gauge a better understanding about the baking process.

As corner shop locations provide a wide degree of visibility, it was important to avoid constructing a domineering form that would barricade the neighboring stores. The challenge was to create a store with a strong presence yet remain modest in structure. The design intent was to break down the elements at the front of house to achieve an unobtrusive space. The front counter, bread tiers and feature walls are independently lit and installed as separate units, yet when grouped together form a unique and holistic design. Spot lighting within these units creates good sight lines across the mall and draws the eye toward the shop. All this has been achieved without walls, satisfying the requests of the shopping center and the client.


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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