With coffee very much the lifeblood of Melbourne, the aesthetic of the coffee shop is one that should be respected, especially by designers. Cafe’s have quickly become a social hub for local communities, with owners and brands subject to thinking out their design approach, as opposed to a bland chair/table/bench exercise.
Langdon Coffee Merchants, one of South Melbourne’s most loved exports, looked to Hassell to design their lab, tasting room and workspaces for their third-generation business. The final design is centred around putting the roasting process on show, having the procedure front and centre with the coffee machine very much the salient object of the room it resides within.
Celebrating the character of the pre-war brick heritage warehouse, Hassell has transformed a rundown 1940s factory for Langdon’s new home. The industrial design couples laboratory and roasting room functionality for the coffee side of the business, as well as offices, a food demonstration kitchen for sister company Langdon Ingredients, a rooftop BBQ space and sun filled coffee bar. Rain-water tanks to flush toilets and water plants, solar panelling, hydronic heating panels were installed to increase energy efficiency, and cork and renewable timbers have been used throughout, highlighting the sustainable measures both parties have taken to do their bit.
The space is designed to weave those in the building through the coffee roasting process and the work conducted in the background to ensure it gets to the coffee machine. It starts with the roastery, then through the workspaces and up to the new second floor with meeting rooms, a kitchen and an outdoor deck that takes advantage of its first rate views of South Melbourne. Steel plate stairs connect the three zones together – a sculptural form that wraps up through the void, while the skylight pulls sunlight to the ground floor.
From the new lab, Langdon sensory experts can now roast small batch speciality coffees on-site, as well as preparing customer samples. Hassell have been able to complete an all-encompassing floor plan that ensures Langdon will be settled in South Melbourne for generations to come