The Melbourne-based creatives at Studio You Me build an airy and fresh interior space for a local cafe, The Kettle Black, to serve up a piping hot cuppa.
The recently launched luxe cafe The Kettle Black is an interior space whose design is time-defying, everything and nothing at once, bringing disparate traditions together but being ultimately modern all at the same time, and it owes this freshness to Kestie Lane and Hana Hakim of Australia’s Studio You Me, an exciting wonder-child of a studio that, in its toddler years, has just finished Richmond’s beautiful Artedomus Showroom.
For Kettle Black, Lane and Hakim let the interior wear its history on its sleeves. The two designers definitely want to play with our notions of time in a very visceral manner, and they do this by balancing artificial usage and degradation alongside modern luxury. Hexagonal tiled floors are in the restroom haphazardly peeled off in a chaotic diagonal direction, creating an organic transition from one type of flooring to the next, while the wash basins are white stone cylinders “stained” with the blackening of wear and use, but this effect is then curiously set off by the obvious luxury of the black matte faucets.
The use of materials is meant to convey a crossroads of the old and the new, with brass, marble, and birch each hearkening to eras and designs that are each fluid components of Kettle Black. The portico has thin small columns whose Romano-Gothic capitals recall Romanesque France, and in recalling France, also recall Neo-Gothic New Orleans, and in recalling New Orleans, convey worldliness and character; and in doing this, exude appeal, attractiveness, and enticement.
Blending materials is meant to relax the 70 or so guests whom the restaurant can hold at max capacity, making the space particularly conducive for social gatherings. 70 might not seem like a lot at first, but a keen sense of furniture placement partitions the room into smaller sections with distinct tones and offerings, allowing patrons to migrate here and there in a seamless reaction to their mood. In one section, a green doll chair by Cafe Culture+Insitu meshes with the natural greenery of the hanging rhipsalis plants.
Fortunately the menu is as handcrafted and well-curated as the restaurant, being headed up by the team responsible for Melbourne’s cafe creme de la crop such as Top Paddock and Three Bags Full, among others, and hones in on locally sourced fare for that added dose of authenticity that modern urbanites are becoming increasingly aware of. All elements together offer an exciting new venue for Melbourne’s cafe scene.
Photography courtesy of Studio You Me