As regular readers of the blog will know, we like to scour the globe looking for interesting retail interiors – and we especially like those which have been repurposed for use – such as the clothes shop in an abandoned apartment block swimming pool in Japan and the donut store inside a car wash in New York City – and this week we have another story in this occasional series, featuring a coffee shop in an old industrial parking garage in Australia:
The Reformatory Caffeine LAB, is the brain child of fourth generation Colombian coffee bean farmer, Simon Jaramillo, whose family have been working in the coffee industry for some 100-odd years. Fancying a break from the norm – and with very specific ideas about what direction he wanted to take with his coffee knowledge-fuelled business – Jaramillo moved to Sydney, Australia and consulted with architect Louise Nettleton to convert this grubby 12ft X 50ft space, which was formerly an industrial parking garage and heavy machinery store, into the Reformatory Caffeine LAB. The coffee shop is located conveniently close to the Central Station in Sydney and – like the swimming pool converted to a clothes store that we recently reported on – it has been designed to retain many of it’s original features, evoking the ambience of it’s former use. The café interior includes frosted glass dividers and steel benches – retaining it’s weathered concrete floors, with a tasteful black/noir theme throughout, echoing the richness of the coffee beans and the depth of the taste.
Comic enthusiast, Jaramillo commissioned Melbourne-based illustrator Heesco to decorate the dark coffee shop interior with a series of comic-book illustrations, evoking a brooding, grungy, man-cave atmosphere.
Opened just over a year ago, the café is proving very popular with local residents. The combination of gritty, urban design teamed with Jaramillo’s fourth generation authentic coffee expertise create a delicious brew – backed up with more than 5,000 Facebook likes and almost a 100 enthusiastic online reviews, it seems that Jaramillo’s gamble to break the mould and share his coffee skills with a new audience have well and truly paid off.