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Café Melba by designphase dba

A contemporary cabin on an old basketball court serving Australasian cuisine in a Singaporean arts centre. It all adds up at Café Melba.

Café Melba by designphase dba


December 13th, 2012

“The story of Café Melba began with a romantic notion and a walk through the gardens of Goodman Arts Centre,” says Joris Angevaare, Design Director at designphase dba.

Cafe Melba

Formerly LaSalle College of the Arts and prior to that a secondary school, Goodman Arts Centre in Singapore’s east is a 7-acre complex that houses art and creative groups, as well as the National Arts Council of Singapore, and offers multiple shared facilities for rental.

The creative aura, the old school buildings and the site’s lush greenery create a unique environment in Singapore, and encourage feelings of escape from the city bustle.

Cafe Melba

designphase dba built on this quality when designing Café Melba, which sits on the site of the school’s old basketball court. The idea was to evoke the feeling of being on a family holiday – of residing in a relaxed vacation cabin and gazing out to nature.

Cafe Melba

“The site has a beautiful aspect, perfectly positioned as a vantage point to the panorama of lush grass and elegant tall foliage, which created the perfect setting for the café‐restaurant,” says Angevaare.

Cafe Melba

The design team sought a ‘modern Australian vernacular’ style. Daylight filters through the 4-metre-high timber louvres and into the rustic restaurant and bar space. Oiled timber floors, exposed beams, earth-toned fabrics contribute to the effect. The raw concrete bar top is capped in solid reclaimed timber.

Cafe Melba

A variety of seating options and communal tables speak of informality, and from the outdoor terrace, parents can relax while their kids run around on an adjacent field.

Cafe Melba

The 1,500-square-foot establishment was designed in 12 weeks and constructed in 20 weeks. This is designphase dba’s second project for Tadcaster Hospitality, following The Exchange at Asia Square.

designphase dba 

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