The Budapest Cafe Melbourne

Biasol designed The Budapest Cafe Melbourne with a bolder approach to the design elements, while still optimizing the space to its fullest capacity.

  • area / size 1,011 sqft
  • Year 2020
  • Location Melbourne, Australia,
  • Filmmaker Wes Anderson’s cinematic world is instantly recognisable for his idiosyncratic visual style. This unique aesthetic inspired our design of The Budapest Café in Carlton, Melbourne, which follows the success and popularity of The Budapest Café in Chengdu, China. Inspired by Anderson’s approach to set design, the Melbourne café is an imaginative and evocative space with offbeat elements and a natural, earthy colour palette reflecting the local design sensibility.

    Anderson’s films are memorable and magical. He is renowned for symmetry, detail and one-point perspectives, and he creates his mythical worlds through whimsical sets, vivid colours and nostalgic sentiment. Having studied his style for The Budapest Café in Chengdu, we evolved the design experience for the Melbourne café. Drawing on our appetite for modern abstract art, design and hospitality, we created an immersive gallery-like experience through an exploration of form, function and colour.

    Arched-shaped banquette seating wraps around the front beneath a double-height space, with a communal bar table through the centre. A tunnelled arch leads patrons deeper into the café and frames the point-of-sale counter at the end. The back wall is adorned with a narrow stair leading nowhere. Another staircase is likewise framed in an arched recess, encouraging patrons to engage with the design and capture and share the quirky, stylised images.

    Minimising the built form allowed us to maximise the impact of colour. The natural earthy palette exudes warmth, texture and character, while still in keeping with the pink-iced façade of Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. Using a tonal palette, we played with depths of colour to highlight fanciful elements and create a unique sense of two-dimensionality. Lighter hues, such as sand and beige, are on the foregrounds, and darker hues, such as terracotta and pale orange, are on the backgrounds. The banquettes upholstered in rust-red add even more depth of colour, while tubing along the front of the counter has texture and contrast.

    The Budapest Cafés in Chengdu and Melbourne are of the same oeuvre, with the latest venue being a mature and sophisticated evolution. With a richer palette and bolder design, the new café is timeless and contemporary for its Melbourne patrons, while still offering a relaxed and indulgent atmosphere and hospitality experience.

    Design: Biasol
    Photography: Derek Swalwell