In our design of Café Baci at Crown we think we’ve struck the balance between creating the intimacy that a hospitality venue ideally provides for diners, while being enveloped by two major thoroughfares – Crown’s internal Retail Street to one side and the riverside promenade to the other. Given this unique location, it was important to the design integrity that we gained an understanding of what was going on architecturally with outside works and paying respect to that in the interior design.

Spatially – the custom designed booths and banquet seating overcame the challenge of separating the dining experience from the main thoroughfare experience while keeping the expansive space open-plan. Creating a colourful entry by introducing timber cladding in a herringbone formation was a way of imparting a sense of fun to the predominantly neutral palette. The idea of accentuating Café Baci’s three different offers applied to our selection and application of various materials to the cabinetry to distinguish the food, coffee and bar areas served by the kitchen behind – in a way that played on the existing external geometry of the angled canopy.

We designed large-scale light fittings with dropped pendants to impart a floating effect above the booth seating as a way of breaking up the expansive volume of space and to narrow the focus onto the dining tables. The idea for the repeated hexagon shapes of the anodised aluminium structure forges a bond with the external canopy structures so that what’s going on inside engages in conversation with the outside. It’s a dialogue that we deliberately continued through the design of both a coffee box window and protruding gelati offer that not only serves the outdoor eating area but also has the inherent motive of tempting passers-by. To complement this we specified proprietary pendant lighting above the counter top and corridor seating area that married well to the geometry of the space – that adds a bit of delicacy, fun and flavour, bringing in some extra mass without being too heavy. It was about creating the notion of lines that travelled and repeating that through vertical elements.

Café Baci is one of four of our project designs to open their doors at Crown between July and December in 2011. The opportunity to undertake works for different operators within the one precinct has allowed us to cross pollinate the learning and experiences between each while applying our knowledge of master planning and circulation flow to enhance each project.