Designed for a purpose

This is my favourite local café. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and the menu is great. It’s quite a compact space so some of the seating has been designed as part of existing structures, the window and wall, yet it feels quite spacious.


The cafe caters well for couples and singles with lots of “cozy” tables. In fact, the tables for two in the middle have been cut from two bigger tables to cater for the clientele.  I noted the other singles who arrived while I was there also chose to sit along the window seat facing into the cafe. It makes a good home office!


The take-away order space near the food service access becomes very congested on weekends when it’s busy so people tend to order and wait outside on the pavement for their orders. I have quite often done the “dance” around staff while attempting to place an order. There is a space at the other end of the island bench separating the food preparation area from the diners but it seems to be reserved exclusively for access by the chefs.


Order here!

It was an interesting challenge to identify things that have been designed for one purpose but harnessed for another. There is clever storage space for fresh produce in crates painted white and stacked on top of each other. Timber from pallets has been repurposed as wall decoration. An antique Singer sewing machine table is now the water station. The render on one part of the brick wall has been painted with blackboard paint and now doubles as the menu and the wiring has been encased in brass pipes to disguise it.

20150727_144341 20150727_144531


Comment 1

Comment 2

Comment 3

3 thoughts on “Designed for a purpose

  1. says:

    Oh, coffee – such a vital part of my day! I never walk through the front door without a double-shot something in my hand. If I did, no one would benefit.

    Great post, Deb. I particularly liked the photos which helped to give a sense of the space you had been observing. Funny how “cosy” to one person, is the next person’s “claustrophobic”. It’s one of the things that i really find fascinating (and a little frightening) about this course – that the idea of an effective and functional, yet aesthetically pleasing space is so subjective.

  2. says:

    Hi Deb
    From your images I can see why this cafe is your favourite. You noted that the building’s existing structures had been harnessed to make the most of the limited space. The window seats are embraced by single customers while the tables suit couples. The space and seating constraints suggests that the cafe does not cater to groups of people. According to Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby “the best designers take a can-do attitude about “wicked” problems and use constraints as a source of inspiration” (2012, p. 111). A problem you identified was congestion around the take-away order area. Perhaps this experience could be improved by utilising design thinking with staff experiencing, empathising and getting feedback from their customers. This could be achieved by observing and prototyping different approaches to the problem using the three steps in the iterative process; play, display and watch the replay (Kuratko, Goldsworthy, & Hornsby, 2012).

    Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process Innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking (pp. 103-123). Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from

  3. says:

    I really enjoyed reading your observation as your identification of objects utilised for alternate purposes held a pleasing attention to detail. I would never have noticed they used the pipes to cover wires. It’s clear that some thought on the part of the owners / managers has paid dividends in approaching these practical yet aesthetically pleasing features of their space.
    Your identification of the counter area and “dancing” with staff is familiar to my experience in popular cafes. It occurred to me after exploring the process of persona within the “immersion”of my observation that most cafe owners would not engage in this analysis. Obviously they would design their space, hence the beautiful use of static pieces that enhance the experience, such as the Singer sewing machine water station. The physicality of the space is only tested in the experience of being open. Caught up in the insanity of a new business they may be aware of the congestion but they are never caught up within it. Consequently they never immerse and start the process of ideating a solution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *