Stella Collective brings the outside in for seaside cafe interior


Melbourne interior design studio The Stella Collective has paired lush green foliage with stark white walls for this cafe in Brighton, UK, which is designed to feel like a jungle.

The jungle-themed interior, which the designers have coined "botanical punk", was designed forBrighton's oldest coffee house Red Roaster – headed by Michelin-starred chef Matt Gillan.

The cafe, which is located in an old Post Office building, features tropical plants and skylights. The Botanical Punk theme was conceived in response to the UK's cool climate.

"Botanical Punk was born out of a necessity of being at the mercy of UK winters, when outdoor dining can be brutal," explained Hana Hakim of The Stella Collective, which worked together with London Architects Studio C102 to complete the interior.

"I wanted to bring the outside in, so it can be enjoyed all year round," she continued.

The Stella Collective inserted tropical trees and planting that grows across the ceiling on a black steel frame to create a canopy over the dining areas. Spread throughout the cafe, the foliage is amplified by mirrored wall panels.

The greenery is offset with clean, white gridded tiles that feature an illustration of a giant goat's skull.

According to the designers, this feature was added in order to "bring back the rock n roll sensibility to the space uniting the two worlds of nature and punk together".

Other "tropical gothic" references include polished chrome lettering across one of the walls and a steel staircase.

The refurbished skylights funnel daylight into the space and reflect the polished brass and marble finishes that adorn the restaurant's counters, storage cupboards and tables.

"Putting in a perfectly orchestrated hospitality venue was never going to fly," explained Hakim. "This is an oddball town and I not only wanted to explore the beauty of Brighton, I also needed to acknowledge her inner misfit."

"There is a shadow side to everything beautiful in this world and that is a big part of what makes up British culture. It's suave, it's sophisticated and it's punk as f**k," she added.

"Working with Hana and her team, we ensured that their vision for Redroaster was realised by coaxing back to life the dilapidated old Post Office building; opening up old skylights and a dingy fire escape, as well as designing an austere steel staircase in sync with The Stella Collective's punk sensibility," said Kyriakos Katsaros of Studio C102, which oversaw the project on site.

"Our collaboration across the other side of the world yielded a unique blend that neither of us would have achieved in isolation," he added.

In Bangkok, Thai design agency Hypothesis transformed an abandoned warehouse in Bangkok into a restaurant with plants that hang from the ceiling,  while Dutch design office Studio Modijefsky filled an Amsterdam bar with tropical plants and green surfaces to create a rainforest-like feel.

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