2013 Eat-Drink-Design Awards: Best Cafe Design

Best Cafe Design
Top Paddock Cafe by Six Degrees Architects with Nathan Toleman Design & Construction

Jury comment

There is an expansive egalitarianism to Top Paddock Cafe. Not only does it accommodate diverse social groupings and moods, it also recognizes that in contemporary cafe culture dining out at any time, for any meal, can become an occasion. Sunday brunch may be “the new black” at Top Paddock Cafe, enjoyed at a perkily designed communal table, yet equally a solo coffee or drink can be had in a choice of snug nooks or engaging, people-watching spaces. The impressive spatial dexterity employed to achieve this intimacy within the ample envelope of the building is never at the expense of operational practicality, however, and Top Paddock Cafe shows the hallmarks of an evolved and honed approach to hospitality, from client and designer alike. The cafe makes a virtue of its busy roadside location and commercial context, with material references to urban surfaces and infrastructure, and quirky solutions like recycled street-sign seats. The careful blurring of interior and exterior eating places sets a neat balance between comfort and cafe culture. In an unlikely location, this lively project manages the richness and freshness of the fabled top paddock.

Design statement

The design allows form and function to work as one. It creates a space that invites the customer in while allowing for ease and efficiency of service for staff. The space and service in turn complement the wholehearted food on offer. The cafe has a pulse and a buzz about it but also a sense of home. Through careful consideration of the existing shell and materials, life has been injected into the space without the overuse and wastage of new materials. Thoughtful spatial planning and placement of furniture and lighting fixtures not only breaks the space up into intimate areas, but also takes advantage of the abundance of natural light and views out to surrounding greenery.

Top Paddock Cafe
658 Church Street
Richmond Vic 3121


Design practice
Six Degrees Architects
Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Six Degrees Architects, Nathan Toleman, Ben Clark
Design practice
Nathan Toleman Design & Construction
Richmond, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Site Details
Location 658 Church Street,  Richmond,  Melbourne,  Vic,  Australia
Project Details
Status Built
Category Hospitality, Interiors
Type Restaurants



Published online: 12 Nov 2013
Images: Albert Comper


Artichoke, December 2013

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