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The “restrained opulence” of historic banks and treasuries informed the interior of this coffee shop in Sydney, designed by Studio Tate. Toby’s Estate is within the ground-floor foyer of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia headquarters, which has recently been overhauled by architecture firm Woods Bagot. The brief given to Melbourne-based Studio Tate was to create a luxurious finish for the coffee shop, which has branches in various Australian cities. But it also had to fit with Woods Bagot’s design for the building.

“An intelligent approach was crucial to link their fit-out with the foyer design”. The studio took inspiration from the architecture of old financial institutions, mirroring their use of material and colour. Their aim was to “evoke the gravitas of traditional treasury design and the gold they guard within their walls”. “The restrained opulence of historic banks and treasuries is reflected in the colour palette of deep hues, warm timbers and rich metallics” added Tetlow-Stuart. Chairs in the cafe are a shade of burnt orange and have velvet-upholstered backs to evoke a vintage feel. The tables are crafted from dark green stone, while light fixtures and furniture bases are brass. Some of the cafe’s fittings have also been made to resemble those seen at a traditional bank.

Stone counters, reminiscent of those used for writing cheques on, are affixed to the back of seats to form spaces where standing customers can rest their drinks. A screen of timber battens runs above the coffee shop’s main counter, which was added by Woods Bagot before the fit-out. The architecture firm was also responsible for the coloured marble floor tiles, which Studio Tate have matched with the black marble wall at the rear of the space. “The striking floor was an element from the base building design, with our own palette echoing the materials selection,” Tetlow-Stuart explained. Studio Tate is led by interior designer Alex Hopkins and business partner Carley Nicholls. Previous projects by the office include a luxurious revamp of a hexagonal property developer’s office, featuring walnut corridors and a movable wall of greenery.

Design: Studio Tate
Photography: Felix Forest

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