Urban Coffee Farm

HASSELL designed the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar for the 2013 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Coffee and the cafes that sell it are ubiquitous in the world’s major cities – but how about a jungle of coffee trees on the edge of a central business district That’s what HASSELL is bringing to the Australian city of Melbourne in partnership with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival presented by the Bank of Melbourne. The work of young designers at HASSELL, the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar is the centrepiece of this year’s Festival which runs from 1 to 17 March.

“Approximately 120 coffee trees will transform the ‘Red Stairs’, a popular public amphitheatre on the banks of Melbourne’s River Yarra, into a terraced coffee farm and abstract, modulated jungle,” said Brenton Beggs, Landscape Architect and one of the HASSELL designers on the project. Alongside the trees, a collection of shipping containers, timber pallets and packing crates will demonstrate the journey that coffee beans take from where they are grown to the lips of a big city coffee connoisseur.

“The inspiration for the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar comes from a desire to evoke the still somewhat mysterious and exotic geographies associated with the source of coffee. It brings to life the story about coffee, inspiring coffee drinkers to think about its origins, production and transport,” explained Cara Gabriel, an Interior Designer and another member of the team. It’s possible to stumble across a coffee plantation within the clearing of a jungle. In fact, the most flavoursome coffee is grown within twenty degrees of the equator in the shade of mountains and under the protection of the existing vegetation canopy.

The design of the Urban Coffee Farm attempts to play on this element of intrigue and surprise, creating an unexpected landscape in a familiar urban setting. “The Farm also plays with the idea of the takeaway nature of contemporary urban coffee culture, and the temporary nature of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival itself,” said Brenton. Its physical expression and componentary are not polished, but rather appear to be quickly and haphazardly gathered together. The visitor is invited to ‘takeaway’ knowledge, new experiences and of course, a cup of coffee brewed by some of the city’s best baristas.

Project: Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar
Landscape Architecture: HASSELL
Construction: 2013
Text: HASSELL
Photos: Bonnie Savage

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