- Article by Studio Equator
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Owners of Mebourne café Le Flaneur asked Studio Equator to help them create a unique Australian café with a French twist.
The name ‘Le Flaneur’ is drawn from the work of 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire, a favourite writer of the café’s owner, and so Baudelaire also became the inspiration for the visual identity and fitout.
Pages of Baudelaire’s poetry books were glued to one wall and varnished, with other walls clad in timber to give a soft moody ambiance and to draw attention to the feature wall. Custom furniture has been created for the café, including a large communal table which became known as the Frankenstein table because it was made by integrating five different recycled tables into one.
To give a natural fresh feeling and an interesting point of difference, the interior features tree branches that reach through the centre of the table up towards the ceiling with a small bird house perched at the top.
The design mixes two completely different worlds, a concept explored in the chairs. A number of custom chairs designed by Studio Equator combine the top parts of old chairs with modern Eames chair bases, and these sit alongside a mixture of old Australian country chairs repainted to match the chosen colour scheme.
Repurposed materials are used for the back wall behind the café. Old vinyl floor tiles that would normally have been thrown away were sourced from a supplier, and used as custom wall tiles. Fruit boxes have also been repurposed as functional and charismatic shelves.
Polished concrete floors and a simple counter clad with tiles on the top and front offset the other décor details, and industrial work lights have been used as pendant lights.
For the visual identity, custom typography was produced for the Le Flaneur logo, as well as a series of illustrations inspired by old French style illustrations, with a fun and playful twist. Newspaper-style menus feature snippets of Baudelaire’s writing, tying the graphic and interior design elements together.
Team Carlos Flores/Benjamin Fretard
Now in its eleventh year, Shaw Contract’s Design Awards program honors architecture and design firms that are changing the way people engage and interact with a space.