Moonee Ponds

Conceived as an extension of its neighbourhood setting, Convoy converts an original service station building in Melbourne’s inner northwest into a warm, community-centric café, grafted to its site. Identifying a lack of hospitality venues in the area, the clients’ sought to create a new proposition that felt elegant yet accessible. Inspired by the bustling activity of the local community, the design partners the programmatic requirements of the brief with an aesthetic resolution that strategically and sustainably rejuvenates the sprawling corner site.

The building’s original façade and bull-nose awning are de-saturated in a warm, neutral hue, contemporising the café’s expression to the street, while a datum of warm brick tiling enhances the feeling of detail and texture. An airy, wrap-around deck, unites the once enclosed building with its neighbourhood context. Qualities of the nearby parklands are echoed in brick planter boxes brimming with lush foliage. The addition of a new takeaway window encourages passers-by to grab a coffee or snack on the go.

Photography by Sean Fennessy 

Internally, spatial planning creates efficient paths of travel for staff and patrons. Open timber shelving delineates a new entry and waiting area, drawing focus to the monolithic tiled coffee bar. Beyond, diverse seating areas are nestled into the building’s existing footprint, offering a variety of atmospheres to dine and dwell. Low banquette seats line the perimeter, facilitating greater connections to the outside, while a row of intimate booths lend unobstructed access to the kitchen pass behind. At the rear, a private dining room, defined by playful checkerboard floor tiles, offers a secluded bookable space or a quiet place to retreat. 

The material palette balances the building’s industrial qualities with warmth and tactility. Dropped, timber-lined ceilings create a feeling of intimacy on arrival, opening to the lofty volume of the main café. Original steel beams are celebrated in their raw state, and their patinated powder blue paint finish is reiterated throughout. Polished concrete floors reference the site’s industrial origins, while crisp white walls reflect the abundant natural light, crafting an uplifting feel. This base palette is contrasted by the use of warm timbers, tiling, natural stone, burnished brass and tonal fabrics, enhancing the feeling of detail and texture.

Throughout, Convoy is enlivened by thoughtfully curated furniture, styling & artwork.