Bicycle Thieves

Pierce Widera designed a vast, light filled cafe in Melbourne that pays homage to the 1948 Italian movie and the restaurant namesake, ‘Bicycle Thieves’.

  • area / size 2,368 sqft
  • Year 2018
  • Location Melbourne, Australia,
  • The design by Pierce Widera is a modern interpretation of the movie, referencing timeless mid century modern materials and details, and blending into the history of the neighbourhood’s historic Italian heritage.

    Polished curved metal banquette frames reference traditional bicycle frames, soft raspberry and olive leather reminds one of bespoke stitched bicycle saddles.

    Lighting is used to create zones in the large industrial open space. Linear pendants above the main bar are both statement and task lighting. Globe pendants above the large steel communal tables bring scale to the interior. The white track lighting that follows the perimeter raspberry banquette seating blends into the space.

    Every element of the joinery has been carefully considered to fit into the space and to be in proportion to each zone. There are various seating options, from traditional bench seating, to sculptural communal tables for large groups and families, to high standing ledges inspired by traditional Italian coffee bars. Seating is paired with rich, warm timber tables to soften the feel of the industrial base build.

    Bespoke concave tiles in a grid of polished metal, textured glass and accents of brass complement the material palette further.

    The design also plays with various scales and jumps between alternating ceiling heights and different seating heights, while still remaining inviting to everyone. As in the Italian tradition, the kitchen is part of the space, remaining open, welcoming the eye to be a part of the cooking experience.

    Joinery items, including water stations and wash basins, essential to the operation of the business, have been re-envisaged and incorporated as furniture items rather than simply practical necessities.

    The backlit bespoke logo inset into the timber panelling is an unconventional approach adding a sense of playfulness to the interior. Brass arches above the walkway are also a fun element of the cafe experience.

    Design: Pierce Widera
    PhotographyDerek Swalwell