Exemplary baked products have always been the cornerstone of the Australian baking industry, however, some businesses are taking this one step further and making their business space a feast for the eyes as well. Baking Business examines the rise of the designer bakery both here in Australia and around the world.
In a food-oriented city like Melbourne it can take a lot for a business to stand out from the crowd. With this in mind, when former Vue de Monde and Chez Dre baker Quentin Berthonneau and Baker D Chirico manager Marion David decided to join forces and open their own bakery, they teamed up with interior designer Adele Bates to create a space that not only delighted the tastebuds, but was also a treat for the eyes.
Located in the corner stretch of Prahran Market’s Market Square, every facet of the design of Q le Baker was developed to incorporate the business’s philosophy: to be transparent and share every aspect of the business with its consumers. This applies to selecting and working with the chosen ingredients to the overall preparation and baking in the four-deck Bongard oven, all of which is visible via the two display windows through which passersby can see the staff in action.
Melbourne-based interior designer Adele Bates was brought on board to help Quentin and Marion bring their vision for Q le Baker to life.
Armed with a brief to design a space that not only functioned on a pragmatic and retail level, but also conveyed the business’s focus on authenticity, quality and customer education, the opportunity arose for Adele and her team to create a bakery that combined visual transparency and connections between spaces while also adding an overall sense of theatre.
Thanks to its corner location within the Prahran Market, Q le Baker is exposed to both the market interior and external dining spaces. As such, the back of house was designed to wrap around and viewing windows were strategically placed to provide passersby a unique insight into the inner workings of the bakery. This was further enabled by the deliberate placement of pastry benches at the windows to invite interaction with the bakery staff.
“The façade design consists of visually soft surfaces of textured render punctuated with bold, dark timber box-frame openings, drawing the eye to concentrated windows of activity,” Adele said.
“Adjacent to the external serving window, the wall ripples in a sculpted form, alluding to the soft forms of dough. The palette of marble, timber and textured surfaces complements the texture and nature of the produce, creating contrast and bringing focus to the baked goods.”
Adele says the end result has transformed Q le Baker into a designer bakery that is also an approachable, engaging and enjoyable hospitality and retail space that stems from a unique and necessary combined response to both the existing site conditions, constraints and the client brief.
“By allowing customers and the public to be able to see the workings of a bakery, it created a sense of theatre. This was then the inspiration behind the rippled curtain treatment to the front wall, and the dark timber to frame the scenes the bakers are creating, and the array of lights that are reminiscent of theatre lighting,” Adele says.
“The overall design elevates the consumer experience beyond the customary act of purchasing produce, bringing a dimension of sensory interaction and education. Permeating all aspects of the design is a sense of theatre, baring all to the public in a deliberate act of honesty.”
Designer Bakeries Around The World
Lazaro Rosa Violan
In a world-first, hotel chain Praktik Hotels created a designer 74-room hotel centred around the hotel bakery. Clean lines and an open plan invites guests to watch on as their daily bread is made.
Turin , Italy
Housed in the Porta Nuova train station, VyTA Boulangerie is far from what you’d expect when it comes to grab-and-go food options. Light oak and black polymer surfaces are contrasted in a manner reminiscent of a high-end fashion boutique or a cocktail bar rather than a traditional bakery. An L-shaped counter, hexagonal beehive detailing and stylised natural oak hoods over the pastry displays round out the dramatic interior.
Housed in a huge 700sq m space, Masa Bakery is home to a café, separate retail area and outdoor patio—and that’s before you even get to the bakery itself, which is laden with tarts, pastries, doughnuts, sandwiches and tartines. A long concrete bar, multi-tiered seating platform and communal wooden tables fill the space, while angular windows provide access to outdoor greenery and ample natural light.