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Chavela Burwood by Matt Woods

Elana Castle discovers that Matt Woods, winner of the 2011 IDEA People’s Choice Awards, is not resting on his laurels.

Chavela Burwood by Matt Woods


March 27th, 2012

Matt Woods has brought his unmistakeable version of inventive, eclectic modernity to Chavela, a small cafe on the fringes of Sydney’s inner west.


In addition to introducing a fresh aesthetic to Burwood’s otherwise nondescript shopping strip, Woods has succeeded in overcoming a particularly modest budget and tight timeframe.

“Due to the budget constraints, my strategy was to use texture to create interest in the space,” he explains. In particular, Woods has played with matt and gloss surfaces, including FC ply, laminate, copper, powder coated steel, bamboo and unglazed mosaics.


“The plan is to develop the scheme as the Chavela legacy develops,” adds Woods. “I’ve conceived the space so that there is room for growth without compromising the original design.”

Despite the restrictions, Woods’s textured design is defined by two primary features – a feature wall and the bar counter.


Commanding attention from street, the counter is clad in Herringbone-pattern, recycled fence pailings which reveal glimpses of LED lighting between the gaps. The recycled timber top is offset by suspended Mr Cooper copper light shades.

The cafe’s feature wall is painted, raw brickwork further characterised by a long, vertical, bevel-edged mirror which does double duty by creating an enhanced sense of space. Just below, a lavender-coloured, Chesterfield-style leather banquette provides intimate seating.


Just a few shopfronts over, Woods is putting the finishing touches on another inspired interior. With Matt Woods in the ’hood, who knows what further design-led improvements can be made to this Sydney suburb.

Photography: Chris Corboy

Matt Woods Design

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