Coffee and the cafes that sell it are ubiquitous in the world’s major cities – but how about a jungle of coffee trees on the edge of a central business district? That’s what HASSELL is bringing to the Australian city of Melbourne in partnership with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. The work of young designers at HASSELL, the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar will be the centrepiece of this year’s Festival which runs from 1 to 17 March. A total of 125 coffee trees will transform the ‘Red Stairs’, a popular public amphitheatre on the banks of Melbourne’s River Yarra, into a terraced coffee farm and abstract, ‘modulated’ jungle. Alongside the trees, a collection of shipping containers, timber pallets and packing crates will demonstrate the journey that coffee beans take from where they are grown to the lips of a big city coffee connoisseur.
The inspiration for the Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar comes from a desire to evoke the still somewhat mysterious and exotic geographies associated with the source of coffee. It brings to life the story about coffee, inspiring coffee drinkers to think about its origins, production and transport. It’s possible to stumble across a coffee plantation within the clearing of a jungle. In fact, the most flavoursome coffee is grown within twenty degrees of the equator in the shade of mountains and under the protection of the existing vegetation canopy. The design of the Urban Coffee Farm attempts to play on this element of intrigue and surprise, creating an unexpected landscape in a familiar urban setting – a pleasant surprise during the course of a normal day.
The Urban Coffee Farm also plays with the idea of the ‘takeaway’ nature of contemporary urban coffee culture, and the temporary nature of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival itself. Its physical expression and componentary are not polished, but rather appear to be quickly and haphazardly gathered together. The visitor is invited to ‘takeaway’ knowledge, new experiences and of course, a cup of coffee brewed by some of the city’s best baristas.Location: Melbourne, Australia Architect: HASSELL