With coffee abounding in Melbourne, the aesthetics of the coffee shop is one that should be respected, especially by designers. Cafés have quickly become a social hub for local communities, where owners and brands need to think about their design approach, as opposed to a boring chair / table / bench exercise.
Langdon Coffee Merchants, one of South Melbourne’s most beloved exports, approached Hassell to design their laboratory, tasting room and work areas for their third generation business. The final design is centered around presenting the roasting process, as the procedure is in front and centered with the coffee machine to a large extent the prominent object in the room in which it lives.
To celebrate the character of the pre-war brick heritage warehouse, Hassell has transformed a dilapidated factory from the 1940s into Langdon’s new home. The industrial design combines laboratory and roasting functionality for the coffee side of the company as well as offices, a food demonstration kitchen for the sister company Langdon Ingredients, a barbecue area on the roof and a sunny coffee bar. Rainwater tanks for flushing toilets and waterworks, solar panels, hydronic heating panels were installed to increase energy efficiency, and cork and renewable timber have been used everywhere, highlighting the sustainable measures that both parties have taken to make theirs.
The room is designed to weave them into the building through the coffee roasting process and the work in the background to ensure it gets to the coffee machine. It starts with the roastery, then through the work areas and up to the new second floor with meeting rooms, a kitchen and an outdoor deck that benefits from its premier views of South Melbourne. Steel plate stairs connect the three zones to each other – a sculptural form that winds through the cavity, while the skylight draws sunlight to the ground floor.
From the new lab, Langdon sensory experts can now roast small batches of coffee on site as well as prepare customer samples. Hassell has been able to complete a comprehensive ground plan that will ensure Langdon will live in South Melbourne for generations to come.