Coffee is the passion of the modern age but you wonder if, when he left law to become a bean merchant, Toby’s Estate founder, Toby Smith, could have imagined his success. A decade on, the backyard business operated out of his mother’s house in Wooloomooloo now supplies over 600 coffee houses in addition to the own-brand coffee houses the Estate runs across Australia. Given Smith’s former profession, the latest outpost of his global enterprise (the brand also has cafés in Singapore and New York) is located in the suitably corporate surroundings of the Commonwealth Bank on Darling Square – a new build part of the multi-billon dollar overhaul of western Sydney.
Melbourne-based Studio Tate, led by Alex Hopkins, has taken a difficult location and the limited scope it afforded, and transformed what could have been a takeaway stand in a foyer, into something more inviting and less transient. This has been achieved through the use of robust materials like leather, marble, wood and brass, which subtly suggest the notion of a bank and the creation of varied seating options, from communal and individual tables to standing coffee bars along the rear of the banquettes, where those who wish might choose to linger.