TMRW - So Josh, there's a few players on the team behind A-coffee, can you introduce us to them alongside their specials skills....
A - Nick Chen: He's responsible for our social media and photography working on our media presence and some side projects that include being published in drift magazines Melbourne edition.
Frankie Tan: He's responsible for the day to day management of both Acoffee and Bench, you could say he's the heart and soul of our company. He's Co-Founder of Bench and as he studied Graphic design he plays a huge part in our brand design and space creation.
Byoung-Woo Kang (BW): He's the founder of Acoffee, Originally starting at Market Lane he developed his own style and is responsible for our coffee from bean to cup and all quality control that our company prides itself on.
Claye Tobin: Claye is our business minded partner watching the back end of the businesses as well us currently working with a lot 61 Roasters in Amsterdam. He is currently working on some exciting future projects that we are looking into.
Finally me (Joshua Crasti): I'm the other Co-Founder of Bench, with my background in building. I have been studying Architecture and working for a firm in the city called Arkhe Tekhne. I am responsible for the design and construction of all of our spaces.
TMRW - Old buildings look really nice.... but creating a new space within is often more than a challenge, how was the fit out process with this location... And as the designer what back of the napkin changes did you have to do to just make it work?
A - Yes they certainly don't build them like they used to, and as my dad would say "Thank God!" Firstly as you would imaging nothing was square so that meant that a lot of tile cutting and ceiling panel adjustments had to be made. This meant that those jobs that should have taken a day or two ended up blowing out and creating all kinds of delays and headaches. There were joinery changes that had to be made on the fly and levels that had to be fudged in a big way. I think the biggest napkin changes were actually pulling elements out such as the removal of a glazed curtain wall that was just going to be to hard to get right, ultimately though I am glad it didn't make the cut as I think the open simplistic space has benefited from this.
TMRW - All white out the front, all black out the back - Can you give us a bit of an insight into the one thing you weren't going to budge on...the black bathroom? We love it.
A- Haha, yes the bathroom was one of the I am not moving elements. Frankie and I were having one of our design sessions when we came up with it sending each other inspirational images back and forth and pitching different Ideas to each other as if we were trying to one up another when I think I just sold it! The other boys took a little more persuading but I love the disconnection of the spaces and the way that when you return from the toilets the white space just smashes you in the face. It really adds some impact to the space and helps us hide the toilets in plane sight.
TMRW - The space has a very little division between the front and back of house workings, normally these areas are roped off or hidden yet it seems to work perfectly here without any of that... How much do you believe that great design will, in fact, direct people without them knowing?
A- Circulation is a key to all architectural design and is something that has to be considered when creating any space. We had originally sort to break the space up but after considering this we decided against it instead opting to create an almost imaginary barrier with the two benches ending together. This visual queue allows customers to clearly identify the roastery as a separate area whilst allowing us to maintain the open unimpeded space.
TMRW - if you're anything like us, all the spaces we work on becoming one of the family, and we all know families have favourites... what's your favourite little feature here?
A- My favourite feature of the roastery is of course the roaster itself. But not just because it's a big shiny piece of machinery. When Designing the space I had an image of you walking in through the doors and the two linear benches drawing your eyes upon the roaster almost framing it as if it were the key piece and this art gallery devoted to the process of roasting and brewing coffee. An effect that I feel we achieved and that is something I am particularly happy with.
TMRW - How do you have your coffee?
A- I'm really not to fussy I like a good Flat white. I think that it's something so simple to get right and therefore should be an indication of the consistency and ability of the brewers to nail it every time. I am however quite partial to a pour over or batch brew. It is something that I feel we really strive to be at the forefront of, both roasting for and brewing the best possible filter coffee.
TMRW - Late night building is often more fun than the late night drawing.... What are the top 5 songs you need to have on your creative playlist?
A-I'm a bit of a fan of the golden oldies and the running joke this build was me asking if whoever was singing was 'the Boss' regardless of whether or not it sounded like him or not. That being said here are a few that I think will help any build get done:
stand by me
under the boardwalk
I did it my way
hard days night