The design brief was to create a café and harvest store that fitted within the
client’s vision of a space that could become a central meeting point in the creative
and eclectic neighbourhood of Melville, Jhb.
The café is a multi-layered, well considered space of soft hues where people and
produce alike can bloom.
The harvest store concept was resolved through the design of handmade, raw and
authentic materials and elements. The largest colour components are the
handmade tiles that are glazed with natural pigment to mimic the colours of fruit
and vegetables. Through these colour explorations the entire palette of the café is
refined. The tiles are used on wall surfaces and on smaller elements such as the
dining room tables.
A handmade solid wood farm table forms the heart of the café, displaying home
baked goods. Customers walk around the table and dish up like they would at an
old farmhouse. The delicate display cabinet behind the table showcases retail
items and screens the café from the kitchen with narrow reeded glass, remnant of
the era of the houses in the area.
Most lights were custom designed to refer to the Art deco style of the building with
a subtle reference to the diamond shaped plaster details in the exterior wall
A strong narrative piece in the café is the handwoven mohair tapestry that is based
on a historic hand drawn geological map of the area. By telling this story, the rich
heritage of the area is celebrated.
The intriguing screen filled with pressed flowers and grasses from the Melville
Nature reserve draws people closer and showcases the diverse flora of the area. It
divides spaces, without blocking sunlight and becomes a precious heirloom.
The Maître D station is a contemporary nod to a vegetable cart and showcases
fresh, seasonal produce that is harvested from the roof farm. Reference is also
made to the roof farm in the courtyard where a large water trough is used to wash
and display herbs and plants that are used in the kitchen. A seasonal screen behind
the water trough explains the growing cycles of the roof farm, becoming a
colourful interactive piece.
By weaving stories from the area into the café, it becomes part of its patina.