Foxtrot Charlie

(Brunswick, Melbourne)

Located in the regenerating area of Brunswick, in the inner North of Melbourne, Foxtrot Charlie is part of a new wave of coffee outlets within the lively Sydney Rd precinct. Owned by a single family for half a century, the site had fallen into disrepair and the younger generation of the family, with energy and vision, brought about the development of the site.

The design acknowledges the location and history of the site, with material references to the local (now defunct) brickworks, and the owner’s trade in metalwork, operating from a factory nearby. The existing shell of the building is opened up and revealed with vistas through the space into the rear laneway. The faceted shopfront reflects angles of the busy high street and the form is repeated in timber over the seating inside. The beautiful existing rear timber truss ceiling is celebrated with the rhythm of the ceiling repeated in the suspended pendant lighting spaced evenly under, and the upstairs bar opens up what were small dark rooms into a warm gathering space overlooking the trams of Sydney Rd.

The space is formally broken into three distinct areas; cafe to the front, kitchen and gallery seating area to the rear, and a separate bar area upstairs. Hidden surprises reveal themselves through progression in the space, a suspended model aeroplane hangs low over the communal table, recycled face brickwork supports the batch roaster proudly at the end of the cafe area, and existing brickwork is reflected behind, leading you up the existing timber stairs to the bar area above. White walls create space and light to the rear, with herbs suspended off the wall opposite the kitchen adding a splash of green to the circulation area. The rear gallery area reorientates itself away from the cafe and into the laneway behind, celebrating the wonderful small lanes that are so familiar in inner Melbourne.

Foxtrot Charlie is not merely another cafe on a busy strip, but it allows itself to become a hub to the community, somewhere to meet and gather throughout various times of the day, contrasting spaces within the site creating flexibility and opportunity for a discerning local crowd.

Foxtrot Charlie (Client)
359 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Victoria (Location)
2013 (Completed)