Observation – Bread In Common Fremantle

Designed for purpose

restaurant bench tops with bowls of oranges, lemosn and apples

© Hyacinth Steele, 2016


Location: Bread in common – Fremantle Perth – 43 Pakenham Street Fremantle http://www.breadincommon.com.au/

Bread In Common is both an artisan bakery and restaurant in Fremantle, Perth. I visited the restaurant/bakery recently while attending the HERDSA conference in July. The premise is shared by both businesses with an uninterrupted flow through via the main entry doors between the two areas (bakery and restaurant). The concept behind the design layout is that whilst the bakery and restaurant share different trading hours, they share “bread in common”.

The premise is a renovated warehouse whose warehouse structure has been retained and restored to conserve its heritage and communicate a sense of simplicity with high ceilings, exposed brick and low hanging low-voltage industrial lights which provide a sense of intimacy. Large wide windows at the front of the restaurant let in muted natural light.

Rules and energy


Entry is via two main doors from the footpath where lemon trees and a pergola with a passion fruit vine serve dual purposes as a screened entry and also provide some produce for the kitchen. I noticed one of the cooks picking lemons from one of the trees at the front as I dined inside. Entry via either front door leads to the bakery or the restaurant.

The “greet and seat area” is near the counter and register which the bakery and restaurant share. Diners are guided to seating on long wooden communal dining tables while bakery customers remain at the front counter and make their purchases.

Restaurant fit out

Large wide counter tops serve dual purposes as storage for the artisan ingredients which are used in the preparation of the meals and a partition which separates diners from the kitchen. However, the kitchen and bakery areas are open to the view of diners and adds to the simple, rustic feel of an open plan dining experience.

To the rear of the restaurant large logs are stacked ready for use in the fireplace.

The spaciousness of the warehouse means that although the premise may be fully booked, there is not a sense of crowding and walking between tables and to the rear of the warehouse is easy as the communal tables form a natural, straight grid pattern compared with round tables which would have cramped the space and taken away from the simple rustic atmosphere of meals created with simple, fresh local produce in a building rich in Fremantle history.

A wine bar to the rear which lines the wall also means that there isn’t a crowd at the front counter to get drinks.

Interior decoration – Elements with a purpose

From the wide boarded wooden floors, long wooden rectory style tables, wooden counter tops, large glass storage jars, industrial style low-voltage lighting and exposed brick walls, each element contributed to the either function (storage, partition, seating) or atmosphere of the restored warehouse bakery/restaurant. The newer fixtures such as the lights and the kitchen area with appliances were chosen also to complement the warehouse theme embedded in steel and brick.

If the designers had chosen modern furniture, or bright lighting the interior would have been stark. instead they have fused old brick and timber with newer elements such as steel retaining an old world feel. Even the menu which is generous and made up of grains and pulses and fresh produce and spices contributes to the feel of a bakery and restaurant which has at its heart “bread in common”.





8 comments on “Observation – Bread In Common Fremantle
  1. Wow! Your description makes me want to go there even though I am in NSW on the other side of the country. I love places like the one you described. I like the headings too and your observations about the relationship between design and functionality as well as atmosphere.


    • Thanks Kylie

      I’ll head on over to your blog too. I really love how this subject is making me aware of the different environments that I find myself in.

      Visit again soon 🙂


  2. Hi Hyacinth, it feels like you really were immersed in the experience. A lot of clever thought has gone into the design concept of this bakery. The pared back industrial design harks back to simpler times where you would gather with family and friends around. The lemons and passion fruit vine hinting at freshness, quality and transporting you to another time/place. Regards Lisa

    • Hi Lisa N,

      Its just amazing how I am starting to pay attention to why some spaces work for me and why others don’t. I am also enjoying reading Tim Browns book Change by design. Certainly design is changing me. 🙂 Thanks so much for your post. 🙂 Hyacinth

  3. Hyacinth, I’m the same; as I go about my days at home and work and in different places, I find myself assessing the design values of space! (completely inexpertly I might add) I’m quite struck with how a lot of design seems to involve the non-expert, because we can perhaps sometimes see the obvious. This bakery/restaurant makes me yearn for carbs!

    • Hi Lisa

      Just a quick comment. Carbs are not my friend. But I do LOVE them too. The bread is fabulous. All crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle. Yes this subject has changed the way I look at spaces forever. I think the biggest change for me is immersing myself and staying quiet enough to notice what is happening around me in the space I am in. Thanks for your post 🙂 Hyacinth

  4. Hi Hyacinthia,

    A great description of the premise – thank you! One question I have is about the sound. If the tables are communal, is it noisy? Can couples or small groups have a conversation easily if sharing the table with others. You suggest that the lighting provides an intimate atmosphere – do the acoustics of the dining area complement the lighting?

    I too am enjoying reading Tom Brown’s book – he makes is sound so easy!


    • Hi Madeleine

      Great question. No it wasn’t very noisy. My husband suffers industrial deafness and we were able to talk without me having to shout :). It may be because the ceilings were so high? I must investigate. Thanks for the question 🙂

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