Art & Design


Eat Drink Design Awards

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Chefs, baristas and bartenders have had their time in the sun; it seems there’s a food festival or mixology comp every weekend to recognise their crazy skills. But now it’s time for the Eat Drink Design Awards to recognise those away from the spotlight — the designers and architects who transform bars, cafes and restaurants into truly great venues, and not just places to get fed (or drunk).

The 2013 winners were chosen last night from 81 finalists — judged by an eclectic panel including chef and restaurateur Christine Manfield and author John Birmingham — and proved Melbourne venues to be leading the pack in hospitality design.

On the home front, awards went out to Alan Powell (Cafe Di Stasio), Techne Architects (the Prahran Hotel), Denton Corker Marshall (Hihou), KGA Architecture (Spring St Grocer) and Collegamento; David Pigdon, Robert Simoni and Callum Morton (Bar Di Stasio).

Melbourne also took out the award for best cafe with Top Paddock — a collaborative effort between Six Degrees Architects and Nathan Toleman Design and Construction.

“We wanted a space where people can feel warmth and a sense of belonging. We were mindful that, because the place was so big, we needed to create lots of nooks and crannies in order to achieve that feel,” says cafe owner-slash-designer Toleman (you might know him from other caffeinated ventures around town such as Two Birds One Stone and Three Bags Full).

Toleman’s acutely aware of the shift in cafe design over the last few years, and has tried to avoid being tethered to trend by creating a timeless, functional space. “Cafe style changes like jeans and the fashion evolves over time, moving from one trend to the next.”

“When we first opened Three Bags Full five years ago there was this big focus on ’industrial’ interiors. Things have moved away from that image now, towards a more clean Scandinavian look like we have at Top Paddock.”

Watch out for where Toleman takes his designs next; there might just be a cafe popping up near you.

To find out more visit


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