by Chérmelle Edwards
Melbourne-based brothers Trevor and Steven Simmons recently departed the familiar streets of Fitzroy for London to receive the 2014 British Design Award for Restaurant and Bar Design for their multi-functional specialty coffee shop, Industry Beans. The siblings (having already opened a coffee shop in Northcote) are fascinated by all parts of the coffee-drinking experience; from the selection and roasting of the beans to the method of brewing and the space in which it’s consumed. It makes sense, then, that Industry Beans is a multi-faceted coffee haven with a roastery, cupping lab, training facility and café—all under one roof. To learn more about the comprehensive approach, we recently caught up with Trevor Simmons.
How did Fitzroy become a location for where you would create Industry Beans?
Fitzroy has historically been a hub of art, multiculturalism and creativity—a destination for food culture, nightlife and live music. There were also practical considerations in the location; Fitzroy is easily accessible to the whole inner-city and it’s one of the few suburbs in Melbourne with the urban density to support a new third wave, specialty coffee roastery.
How was it working with Matt Rawlins, Principal Architect of FigureGround Architecture?
We were confident of what we wanted, of how to bring a sense of cohesion and transparency to the whole operation and the way in which the high ceilinged warehouse could be utilized. Matt did a fantastic job in bringing together all of our concepts and ideas together into one clean, unique design, made a smart use of materials—lime wash plywood, matte black pallets and steel details. Melbourne’s laneways provided inspiration for the long narrow floor plan and the high ceiling. It’s a large space but still has warmth and feels cozy.
Why make Industry Beans such a holistic space, with a roastery, cupping lab, training facility and café?
We wanted to bring a sense of transparency to the whole operation. Having our working coffee roastery, training facility, full-service kitchen and two coffee bars built into a large open space allows us to showcase what would otherwise be happening behind the scenes. You can pretty much take a seat at Industry Beans and watch it all happen. The open plan also encourages curiosity about the process it takes for coffee to reach the cup. That’s something we’re very passionate about at Industry Beans—understanding and communicating the unique story behind each coffee and how that story affects the flavors that you taste in your morning brew.
Tell us a bit more about the actual coffee served at Industry Beans.
Our coffee menu changes every fortnight and offers a range of seasonal coffees sourced from farmers and collectives located across the globe, everywhere from El Salvador to Ethiopia, from India to Indonesia. Different varietals, growing conditions, processing methods and brewing techniques each yield something distinctive to savor and celebrate. The range of brewing methods we use also allows our coffees to reveal their possibilities in different ways. Filter brewing, for example, delights coffee drinkers who desire complexity and enjoy floral, fruity notes. Espresso, on the other hand, offers a full bodied and rich experience.
How would you say the space of Industry Beans reflects and enhances the coffee-drinking experience?
We wanted to provide an inclusive space, a site for community. It’s not simply a place to drink coffee but also a space outside of home and work where people can hang out, study, socialize and relax. In Melbourne, cafe culture is very much part of the social fabric and we get a very diverse crowd, from the morning yoga crowd and the young creative with their Macbooks to the local grandmas and families with kids.
What has the British Design Awards win meant to you?
There are some great coffee spaces being built across the globe—we had a chance to visit a couple of innovative new coffee spaces in the UK when we attended the awards ceremony in London. We feel very proud to be part of a global movement that is not simply pushing the boundaries with our approach to coffee roasting and brewing but with our approach to the environment and space in which people experience their coffee.
Industry Beans is located at 3/62 Rose Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne and is open seven days a week.
Images courtesy of Industry Beans