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Workshop Espresso

Once a stairwell, now a workshop-inspired café in the heart of Sydney.

Workshop Espresso


November 3rd, 2009

If there’s a brief that would send any designer into a spin it would be this – ‘build a coffee shop in an old stairwell’.

This was the brief given to Giant Design for a new café in The Galleries Victoria in Sydney’s CBD. The Workshop Espresso has been built in the space once occupied by stairs leading to the building’s food court.

The concept was to create an urban retreat, “where coffee & the production of coffee, is the hero, where baristas are intelligent & creative artisans.”

Perhaps taking inspiration from the transient nature of the space, Giant adopted the theme of a ‘workshop’, with raw, honest materials and detailing.

“We wanted to treat the space as if it had existed somewhere else and had been slotted into the fabric of the new site, or had existed forever and been built around,” says Giant’s Chris Wilks. “As such, the adaptable concept can be re-planned to suit any site the client chooses to go.”

Timber trusses, corrugated steel, a large blackbutt ‘workbench’, mini vices and vintage workshop light fittings all add to the effect that this space is well-worn and creates a relaxed atmosphere.

Beneath the workbench reclaimed hessian coffee sacks disguise refrigeration ventilation and provide access to the equipment within, while a custom fridge at the front of the Workshop hints further at the industrial, with riveted zinc edging.

You’d never know the Workshop Espresso was once a bustling thoroughfare.

Giant Design



Recycled Blackbutt
Corrugated steel powder coated black
Porters green blackboard paint
Polished concrete floor
Porters Rust to signage
Vintage lights

Size – 24m2
Budget – $170K

Design Team – Chris Wilks, Ed Kenny
















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