ISSUE 30  |  Global Color

Jury: A Cafe in a Converted Prison

July 30, 2015 11:00 AM

BY Margot Guralnick

Melbourne, Australia’s former Pentridge Prison is now Pentridge Village, a housing and shopping complex with a cafe that’s a celebration of economy–and design freedom.

Photography by Martina Gemmola via Biasol Design Studio.

Above: The restaurant is the work of Biasol Design Studio of Melbourne, who told us: “We wanted to bring life to the site and allow it to move on from its dark past.” Working with a tight budget, they channeled that life by using plywood paneling and structural timbers inset here and there with playful triangles of color.

Above: The triangular fretwork continues on the ceiling, which is hung with Nud Collection pendant lights with Plumen bulbs: see World’s Most Stylish Light Bulb.

Above: The custom tables and stools are also made of plywood. Greenery added throughout softens the angularity.

Above: DIY idea: a wall pendant created with wooden pegs and extra-long cloth cording ending in a simple socket. (For more pendants sources, see our Design Sleuth posts on the Color Cord Company and Wrk-Shp.)

Three of the walls are concrete–the designers used an Australian product called Rockcote

Above: The pastel palette is peppered with touches of black.

Above: The restaurant sign is made of CNC-milled plywood backlit with LED lights. 

Jury is in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg.

Go to Social Experiment: 28 Posti in Milan to see an architect-designed restaurant fitted out by inmates. And, on Gardenista, go to Orange is the New Green to see a prison garden on Rikers Island.