There are a lot of bold choices in the design of Via Porta, a cafe and deli in Mont Albert, an eastern suburb of Melbourne. Yet the result is a space that is inviting above all else. “It’s the kind of place you could really settle into,” one juror said. Meant to evoke the narrow alleyways of Italy, the floor is paved in stone offcuts procured from various suppliers and painstakingly fitted to create a unique and textured warmth. The sandy stones set the tone for the space’s lovely earth-hued palette, creating a feel that is tactile and intimate. There are materials employed here that are uncommon in contemporary interior design, such as the thick glass used for a large communal tabletop at the front of the room. The flow from the dining room to the retail area to the counter encourages interaction with the space, and allows customers to engage with the business in a multitude of ways.
The client brief sought to rejuvenate the existing three-storey commercial property to provide the local community with a unique and dynamic eatery and deli – Via Porta. Drawing on the linear nature of the site and the Italian heritage of the clients, the design references the quaint
and narrow alleyways of Italy, lined with eateries and food stalls, abundant in culture and activity and layered with texture. The design seeks to evoke a familiar feeling that resonates with Southern Italy. The brief sought a clever and versatile design to showcase in equal measure a dine-in eatery and deli and a provedore retail offering. The response is rich in detail but simultaneously pared-back and refined, exuding a contemporary elegance and sophistication that complements the array of vibrant European products lining the intricately detailed merchandise shelving.
677 Whitehorse Road
Mont Albert, Vic
+61 3 8256 4866
Project team: Sarah Cosentino, Hannah-Lee Hughes, Felicity Slattery, Monique Woods, Morgan Novy
Level 1, 25 Duke Street
See the whole gallery of images at the Eat Drink Design Awards website.
The 2019 Eat Drink Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and supported by major partner Chandon Australia; supporting partners Harbour, Latitude, Ownworld, Roca and Tasmanian Timber and event partner Four Pillars Gin, Jetty Road Brewery and S.Pellegrino.