Known for artisan breads and pastries made with traditional sourdough techniques, Rustica Sourdough in Melbourne, Australia, recently opened a new flagship home in the suburb of South Yarra. Designed by renowned local architect Fiona Drago, the space includes a café, bakery, and pastry kitchen, and occupies a heritage-listed site in the front and a production area in the rear.
Drago’s design aims to showcase Rustica’s handmade menu and the team that creates it. To that end, she installed full-height windows between the café and the preparation space so guests can watch the bakers and chefs at work. The interior features an intriguing mix of natural materials such as timber tables and marble surfaces in soothing earth tones, creating a versatile palette that transitions seamlessly from breakfast to lunch to dinner.
To complement the comfortable, calm environment, she selected Vibia’s Palma by Antoni Arola for lighting. The design reimagines the classic globe lamp with two semicircles of blown opal glass joined by an aluminum strap. Interspersed with greenery in custom configurations, Palma evokes a hanging garden and connects light and vegetation as in a natural setting.
A series of Palma lights is positioned along the wall, brightening the tables below. The geometric play of the spherical diffuser affixed to the linear metal frame creates visual interest, while the black finish and rich green vegetation pop against the pale palette of the Venetian plaster walls.
In the cafe’s interior are several Palma pendants. Suspended from nearly invisible cables, the globe-like silhouettes enhance Rustica’s organic ambiance. Their delicate design appears to float like bubbles in mid-air, holding aloft plants that spill casually over the sides while casting a warm glow of wraparound illumination.