Bringing a sense of cheer, bounce and freshness to an otherwise harsh Melbourne street, is a corner shop that goes by Spring Street Grocer. Architect Kristin Green, founder of KGA Architects, infused theatrical design flavors in this boutique grocery outlet, in respects to the shop's neighboring Parliament House and Princess Theater.
The design of the grocery shop captures the new urban essence of small-grain urbanism where the relatively hidden activities of Melbourne’s lanes are manifested on the main streets. The miniture footprint and volume of the shop have been worked hard to accommodate not only a delicatessen, a grocer, a cafe and a cool, glazed-brick cheese cellar, but also flexible space for exhibitions and functions.
The architectural layout is driven by immediate local references. Local materials have been chosen for their longevity and durability, sustaining and inspiring local craftspeople and thereby encouraging the local economy, for example the use of recycled timbers and local aggregates sourced from nearby quarries, minimized transportation and ensured low maintenance.
Downstairs in the cheese room, the integration of motifs continues. The more than passing reference to the Greek heritage of the owners is a whimsical and quirky delight. The glazed bricks and cheese cellar are constructed with family-owned Euroa Bricks.
Layers of historic and cultural references play out with an arresting frieze overhead. Gelati bar joinery extrudes inwards to the store, where serpentine shelving entices customers towards a central stair and cheese shop below. Unique usage and detailing of local and readily available products capture the imagination despite a strict budget.
The Spring Street Grocer complex is a worthy finalist in the 2013 eat-drink-design awards. Here, the architect has given consideration to every surface, space and curvaceous shelf. Colors as bright as the organic veggies juxtaposed against stone and timber fixtures.