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Joost’s Greenhouse Returns to Melbourne

Joost Bakker’s Greenhouse is back. Annie Reid takes a look around.

Joost’s Greenhouse Returns to Melbourne


March 8th, 2012

The Melbourne Greenhouse by Joost is the eco-entrepreneur’s second ’living, breathing and waste-free’ restaurant in the city, this time a three-high shipping container block fronted by his pot plant vertical garden and upstairs roof top bar.



It’s the highlight of the annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, and sitting alongside the Yarra River on Queensbridge Square is attracting a heady foodie and design crowd, snapping pictures or sampling the organic fare by head chef, Matt Stone.


“Our message is that everything matters. Everything is related to something else, which is ultimately reflected in the choices we make,” Bakker says.



Everything in the Greenhouse is completely waste free from the ground up. It’s not reliant on mains water or power, but rather each element from the urban food to the furniture and building materials have their own recycled story to create a rich case for others to follow.

“People are a lot more critical this time around,” he says. “People are questioning everything and there’s a lot more interest.”


For example, the café floor is made from old conveyor belts. Pure beeswax candles provide light. Straw bales from local farms fill the wall and ceiling cavities. Rooftop garden bins flourish with herbs and planters, while the leather seats are made from off-cuts from a local tannery.

According to Bakker, best of all is what has Melbourne talking – the toilets. On the middle level, he is not only trialling the world’s first waterless female urinal, but also taking the urine to Daylesford as fertiliser, where it will be used to grow the oil for next year’s Greenhouse.


“Urine has so much value to it. The best part is we don’t need to refine it, it is just as nature made it!” Bakker laughs.

Keeping costs low and using unskilled labour, it took three weeks to build the Greenhouse, with partner Arup providing engineering and energy efficiency assessment services.


With a Greenhouse on the horizon for Brisbane and East London, Bakker has plenty on his green plate. For local design hunters, he is expanding By Joost, his online furniture, lights and candle products store.

A highlight will be his signature ’Vertical Garden’, which will be soon available for sale online and in selected retailers around Australia.


Joost Bakker

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