This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Delight In Escapism At Vacation Café

Interiors

Satiate your millennial pink cravings once more… at Vacation.

The interior design and architecture firm behind this delightful Melbourne CBD cafe,  Therefore Studio, take us through their eye-catching recent project.

18th April, 2018

Vacation in Melbourne’s CBD. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Therefore Studio handled the fit-out. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Featuring custom-designed furniture from Luke Mills. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

The palette, furnishings, and details all pursue the inventive, original, and abstracted,’ tells Alex Lake. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Therefore Studio set out to create an atmosphere of unique spatial qualities. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

This Muller van Severen wall lamp plays backdrop to an ever-growing number of Instagram portraits! Photo – Sean Fennessy.

There is also a literal nod to the name Vacation, with the design reflecting a sense of escapism and delight. Photo – Sean Fennessy.

Elle Murrell
Wednesday 18th April 2018

Melbournians, there’s a dreamy new coffee spot you need to pop by pronto. Completed last year, Vacation is located on the ground floor of a historic building on the corner of Flinders and Exhibition Streets.

The concept behind this project was to create a distinctive, somewhat novel space, avoiding obvious café tropes, and instead exploring more abstract, otherworldly design.‘There’s also a nod to the literal sense of the name Vacation, with thoughts around escapism and delight,’ explains Alex Lake of Therefore Studio. ‘A couple of people have called the fit-out ‘Miami-Vicey’ – so I had to rush home and watch Miami Vice!’

Vacation’s co-owners are behind some of the city’s top brunch spots including Pillar of Salt, Touchwood, BAWA, Barry, and Square and Compass. This is their smallest venture yet, and marks a fifth time working with Therefore Studio.

Needless to say, the architecture and interiors firm has really maximised the 67-square-metre canvas, and share their praise with builders, CBD Contracting, who did a fantastic job with the tiny tenancy.

Blocked up windows were revealed and reframed (the site previously housed a Chinese restaurant) and an artificially lowered ceiling was returned to its eight-metre-height glory. Anticipating busy CBD crowds, furniture is grouped to the perimeter, a second door has been added to create an efficient flow of traffic in peak times, and the large central bar allows baristas to serve to two sides. So, though its quaint (just 10-seats, in fact!) a versatile layout ensures a lofty feel, and efficient workflow.

The fit-out is punctuated with custom furniture (by our mate Luke Mills!), is an ode to mid-century modernism, and awash with pastel hues that’d be right at home in the 1980s …or now, according to Pantone! Getting the colour scheme to work across different products – from ceramic tiles to powder-coated metalwork, and painted furniture, lighting, and upholstery – was a welcome challenge for Therefore Studio.

Alex also highlights the hand-cut custom floor tile pattern (an abstraction of traditional heritage tiled designs) and the barrel-vaulted ceiling, which covers an existing stairwell but ‘again plays with scale and provides a compressed spatial experience’. Another favourite is the intimate Muller van Severen wall lamp – a backdrop to an ever-growing number of Instagram portraits!

If you’re in need of a new selfie, tasty brunch, and a great coffee… you know where to head!

Vacation
1 Exhibition st
Melbourne

View Comments

Similar Stories

Interiors

The Penny Drop Takes Global Design Prize

The super-swish Box Hill cafe took out the biggest prize at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in London last month.

Stays

Inside the New Spa at Halcyon House

A first-look at the brand new spa at one of Australia's most beautiful boutique hotels - Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach, NSW.
Sally Tabart

Interiors

Great Gatsby Grandeur At Bert's

A decadent new dining room in Sydney's Northern Beaches channels grandeur from a bygone era.
Sally Tabart

This Week

Homes

A Modern Family’s Treetop Rental Property

The heartwarming North Warrandyte rental of Tilly Barber, her six-year-old son Mars, and friends Albee Barton and Justyn Burrow.

Architecture

A Malaysian-Inspired Adaptable House In Brisbane

'Three House' by architect John Ellway sees three pavilions brought together as one breathable, flexible home in Paddington.

Gardens

A Grandmother's Accessible, Flower-Filled Dream Garden!

Outdoor Establishments have turned a barren acreage in outer Sydney into an elderly client's dream garden featuring Eco Outdoor products.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of ‘Hamilton’ Star, Chloé Zuel

We go behind the scenes of the Australian production of the most famous musical in the world - with Eliza Hamilton herself!

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

Studio Visit

The Amazing Art-Making Of Thea Anamara Perkins

The Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist is renowned for her vivid, personal portraits of prominent First Nations figures. We talked to the accompl...

Stays

A Quaint + Charming Holiday Cottage That Feels Like Home

Lotte's Hjem is a 150-year-old weatherboard nestled in the heart of Pambula on the Sapphire Coast.

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

Interiors

This Revamped Edwardian Home Has A Different Mood For Every Room

Interior Designer Georgina Jeffries delivers a classic yet contemporary makeover of a heritage home – where moments of delight are everywh...

Food

Julia's Miso Salmon Bowl With Udon Noodles And Crunchy Greens

The onset of winter and lockdown in Victoria means we're back in comfort food mode – and this warm miso salmon bowl with crunchy greens h...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

In Print

A Rustic Shed Accommodation On The Victorian Surfcoast Hinterland

Lose yourself in the classic Lynda Gardener aesthetic with her new book 'Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home' published by Hachette A...
Ali Heath

Architecture

A Dessert-Inspired ‘60s Home Makeover!

From banana Paddle Pop yellow, to chocolatey timber, this 1960s home makeover by Wowowa brings colour and personality to this mid century ho...

Creative People

A Truly Magical Tapestry Collaboration Between Local Artists + Weavers

Works by Eugenia Lim, Atong Atem, Troy Emery and Hayley Millar Baker were recrafted as tapestries by weavers at the Australian Tapestry Work...

Similar Stories

Interiors

The Penny Drop Takes Global Design Prize

The super-swish Box Hill cafe took out the biggest prize at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in London last month.

Stays

Inside the New Spa at Halcyon House

A first-look at the brand new spa at one of Australia's most beautiful boutique hotels - Halcyon House in Cabarita Beach, NSW.
Sally Tabart

Interiors

Great Gatsby Grandeur At Bert's

A decadent new dining room in Sydney's Northern Beaches channels grandeur from a bygone era.
Sally Tabart

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.