Rail House Café joins the flurry of openings in Victoria, and comes from the team behind Riding House Café and Village East. The interiors have been designed by Box 9 Design founder, Lou Davies, in collaboration with the restaurant’s founder, Adam White. Inspired by the design of a metropolitan train station, the restaurant features multiple hubs, which can be used for different purposes, such as breakfast meetings, solo working or entertaining clients. The interiors also incorporate features such as custom-made furniture, concrete, glass arched windows and light fittings by Enigma Lighting.
The central bar is a striking focal, social point based on an old Victorian tiled fireplace, and the back bar is a huge 3D jigsaw puzzle made from salvaged fireplaces. The theatre kitchen is also an important feature that provides lots of visual action. The design team broke the kitchen stations into multiple pieces, designed to feel like old wooden market tables. This has removed the barriers between chef and guest, and has also merged the bar and kitchen together.
The stairway leading to the first floor provides a strong visual backdrop in order to draw people upstairs. Despite its aged appearance, it is in fact brand new, designed to look like the original old stairway, with rusted, ornate balustrades. Upstairs is even more intimate, with new articulated glass screens all around, designed to break up the huge glass facade but to keep the light spilling in.
The inspiration behind the bathrooms was from old Victorian latrines; the green and white glazed herringbone tiled floor is incredibly striking, especially when mixed with the peach pressed panels that one may have found in old public latrines. The oak and marble vanity units, with brass taps and old enamel bowls made into sinks, provide a little glamour.
‘The design brief for the new restaurant was to create an intimate, relaxed and atmospheric space, which was a challenge given the very commercial steel and glass modern architecture of the development. We needed to reimagine the atmosphere of Riding House Cafe, which was that of a well-loved home, in a totally different setting. To achieve this, we decided to essentially recreate a skeleton building inside the envelope of the developers building, made to feel a little like it was the original building that might have stood on the site historically. We took our design inspiration from places of travel, fairgrounds, tram sheds, municipal buildings and colonial homes – and mixed it all together to create a new feel.’ – Lou Davies, Lead designer, Founder, Box 9 Design