Briefs for architectural projects come in all shapes and sizes. Some are just a little more non-traditional.

A perfect example was the brief for a new “boozy bakery”, located in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray.

“Our clients came to us with one hell of a brief, we were asked to imagine the space where Frenchy and Rizzo (from Grease) have a wild love affair and end up hanging out with Eric Clapton in Joshua Tree,” says project architect, BOARCH.

“In addition to the aspirations of our clients, [the design] needed to provide an inviting atmosphere that connected with the Footscray community, would help ensure repeat visits as well as providing for a safe, functional working and baking environment. All of [this] needed to be achieved within a finite budget.”

In response, Bad Love Club was conceived – a café by day, a bar by night.  


BOARCH didn’t have great bones to work with though. The establishment was housed within an existing shop front tenancy, formerly a noodle bar that required complete demolition and internal redesign.

“…[The] existing shop front was within a neglected strip mall between a busy road and carpark,” says the architect.

“This presented many design challenges around how to create an inviting destination that could transition from the day to night program (bagels and coffee in the mornings, paired cocktails and desserts in the evening) while also attracting passing pedestrians and vehicular traffic.”

The project came to light through considering a range of influences: mirages, the specificity of the Californian desert, the otherworldly flora of Joshua Tree and the comforting American diner.

These references have been interpreted in the design through a number of elements.

For instance, vivid pink and maroon coloured bands wrap the rear wall, which according to the architects, allude to the desert landscape. On the other hand, transparent and otherworldly green “tree” structures allow for hanging plants, creating a new field of flora.


According to BOARCH, the placement of mirrors and perforated materials create qualities of a mirage, while booth seating and colour blocking rift on the interiors of the classic American diner.

“Colour in this project was not just a consequence of a material choice,” explains the architect. “It was a decision founded on interpreting the references above to create a place of unique and specific identity.”

In addition, the project was designed with people in mind. A variety of atmospheres were achieved by fixed and loose seating differentiated by the trees, giving diners a variety of choices.