|Project Name||Genovese Coffee House||Posted in||Design, Interior Design||Location||
1 Lawrence Street
Alexandria NSW 2015Australia
|Architecture Practice||Alexander & CO.||Area (sqm)||300||Completed||Aug 2021|
Taking over a century-old warehouse in Sydney’s inner-city suburb Alexandria, Genovese Coffee House is the latest entry in terms of the neighbourhood’s thriving farm-to-table café scene, albeit one with a long history, this being a third-generation family business established by Alfio Genovese back in 1970 fuelled by his passion for authentic Italian style coffee roasting. Now in the hands of Alfio’s grandson Adam Genovese, the 50-year-old family business is embarking on a new chapter with its fist café, a multi-functional space bringing together a traditional espresso bar, deli counter, cold brew and training bars, and a retail coffee corner. Sydney-based architectural practice Alexander & Co combined the building’s industrial heritage with mid-century retro elements that channel the tradition of Italian bars as a nod to the family’s roots – Alfio Genovese arrived in Australia from Italy in 1950 – adding handcrafted details and reclaimed materials reflecting the family’s ecological and cultural vision. The result is a space steeped in artisanal soulfulness that offers an honest, Italian espresso coffee experience, as well as a destination to relax in.
Alexander & Co have a talent for designing nostalgically charming, contemporary interiors and this project is no exception. Taking advantage of the historic building’s industrial heritage, the team have employed the least possible new-built elements, instead focusing on highlighting the existing brickwork and timber trusses, and embracing materials like reclaimed timber, chunky terrazzo, glazed ceramic tiles, concrete and raw linen fabrics. Coupled with a muted colour palette of natural tones, the space is imbued with a subtle rustic ambience that evokes the company’s humble Italian legacy, a connection further underlined by the fabric awning marking the entrance, reminiscent of Italian street-front shops, and the ‘family table’.
Chic 1970s-inspired furniture, including a special cabinet designed to display the family’s collection of antique coffee equipment, mixed with classic bentwood chairs, bistro tables, and vintage brass lamps convey a sense of nostalgic elegance, with pops of burgundy and orange adding vibrancy and warmth. A predominance of rounded forms, from curved walls and arched doorways to the bespoke sculptural counters, enhance the laidback 1970’s vibes as well as point to the designers’ eye for detailed craftsmanship.
Sipping a quick macchiato at the espresso bar in the morning, savouring a nduja, smoked mozzarella, tomato and basil pressed focaccia for lunch, accompanying an afternoon cappuccino with a tiramisu cannoli, or simply dropping by to buy a bag of roasted coffee or tin of drinking chocolate, Genovese Coffee House is designed to leave a lasting impression however short or long a visit.