Melbournians, there’s a dreamy new coffee spot you need to pop by pronto. Completed last year, Vacation is located on the ground floor of a historic building on the corner of Flinders and Exhibition Streets.
The concept behind this project was to create a distinctive, somewhat novel space, avoiding obvious café tropes, and instead exploring more abstract, otherworldly design.‘There’s also a nod to the literal sense of the name Vacation, with thoughts around escapism and delight,’ explains Alex Lake of Therefore Studio. ‘A couple of people have called the fit-out ‘Miami-Vicey’ – so I had to rush home and watch Miami Vice!’
Vacation’s co-owners are behind some of the city’s top brunch spots including Pillar of Salt, Touchwood, BAWA, Barry, and Square and Compass. This is their smallest venture yet, and marks a fifth time working with Therefore Studio.
Needless to say, the architecture and interiors firm has really maximised the 67-square-metre canvas, and share their praise with builders, CBD Contracting, who did a fantastic job with the tiny tenancy.
Blocked up windows were revealed and reframed (the site previously housed a Chinese restaurant) and an artificially lowered ceiling was returned to its eight-metre-height glory. Anticipating busy CBD crowds, furniture is grouped to the perimeter, a second door has been added to create an efficient flow of traffic in peak times, and the large central bar allows baristas to serve to two sides. So, though its quaint (just 10-seats, in fact!) a versatile layout ensures a lofty feel, and efficient workflow.
The fit-out is punctuated with custom furniture (by our mate Luke Mills!), is an ode to mid-century modernism, and awash with pastel hues that’d be right at home in the 1980s …or now, according to Pantone! Getting the colour scheme to work across different products – from ceramic tiles to powder-coated metalwork, and painted furniture, lighting, and upholstery – was a welcome challenge for Therefore Studio.
Alex also highlights the hand-cut custom floor tile pattern (an abstraction of traditional heritage tiled designs) and the barrel-vaulted ceiling, which covers an existing stairwell but ‘again plays with scale and provides a compressed spatial experience’. Another favourite is the intimate Muller van Severen wall lamp – a backdrop to an ever-growing number of Instagram portraits!
If you’re in need of a new selfie, tasty brunch, and a great coffee… you know where to head!
1 Exhibition st
Vacation in Melbourne’s CBD. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
Therefore Studio handled the fit-out. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
Featuring custom-designed furniture from Luke Mills. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
‘The palette, furnishings, and details all pursue the inventive, original, and abstracted,’ tells Alex Lake. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
Therefore Studio set out to create an atmosphere of unique spatial qualities. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
This Muller van Severen wall lamp plays backdrop to an ever-growing number of Instagram portraits! Photo – Sean Fennessy.
There is also a literal nod to the name Vacation, with the design reflecting a sense of escapism and delight. Photo – Sean Fennessy.