Matt Woods adds teabag chandelier and balancing bowls to Australian cafe

Matt Woods
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Australian designer Matt Woods has transformed an industrial space in Sydney into The Rabbit Hole organic tea bar, pairing the building's original features with whimsical elements.

Woods hoped to take advantage of the inherent architecture, and uncovered the existing timber ceilings and original brick walls.

These newly exposed elements were then painted white to reflect the natural light flooding in through large windows, framed with dark-coloured metal.

"The softening of this masculine architecture is achieved through the white washing of these newly exposed elements," said Woods. "The addition of enlarged northeast facing windows allows light to flood in to the interior."

Influenced by Kintsugi – a Japanese art from based on the celebration of imperfections found in ceramic objects – Woods created a monolithic counter from shards of crushed tiles and a display using a series of balancing Kintsugi bowls.

"The Japanese art of Kintsugi forms the foundation of the new design elements," he said. "This is most apparent in the specialty tea display where, like spinning plates on top of a circus performers pole, custom designed Kintsugi bowls sit delicately above turned oak timbers."

A chandelier by Chilean artist Valeria Burgoa is made entirely of empty teabags and hangs above the tile-clad serving counter.

"To counteract these highly conceptual feature elements, much of the remainder of the design is more humble in form, yet in no way modest in design detail," said Woods.

A steel-framed glazed wall with pivoting windows separates a smaller area from the rest of the cafe.

While reclaimed oak timber was used to create seating throughout the restaurant, century-old oak floor joists were used to construct the service counter. A group dining table is topped with a sheet of dark-coloured granite.

"Other tables are less ostentatious, and are constructed in timber and fibre cement," said the designer. "This contrasting materiality is peppered through out the space, along with a $100 warehouse shelving stand and bespoke joinery items."

As well as serving a wide selection of tea in their Sydney store, The Rabbit Hole sells a number of home-made organic brews on its website.

Other spots for eating and drinking in the Australian city include a driveway converted into a coffee shop for comic book lovers by local architect Louise Nettleton, and a restaurant on the site of a former police station.

Matt Woods adds teabag chandelier and balancing bowls to Australian cafe