Benesse Bunbury

Project Category: Cafe Fitout

Builder: Built by S

Completion Date: 2019

Benesse is a well-established cafe located in a beautiful heritage listed building on Bunbury’s iconic cafe strip. Merge had worked with Benesse back in 2011 to build an extension to accommodate a new commercial kitchen and rework the interior to provide a more functional layout for the busy café as it grew in popularity and had quickly outgrown the quaint space.

After completing an interior fitout for the Australind sister café in 2017, Merge was approached to then bring that style over to the Bunbury café to provide a cohesive look, but still retain the charm and character the café is so loved for.

Utilising the main elements from the previous refurbishment, several features were added to give the interior a totally fresh look for a relatively small scope, budget and timeframe. Brickwork was exposed to the columns either side of the heritage window to provide texture and visual interest. Tan and terracotta accents help to warm up the space and soften all of the existing dark timber, with loads of plants and the white mesh feature planter adding an important fresh element. The existing dark grey walls were also lightened with a feature lime finish paint to provide a more textural, soft feel. The VJ wall cladding is painted in the deep Benesse green to create a strong entry feature.

The front alfresco zone has also recently been upgraded to provide a waterproof seating option for diners. A feature bamboo screening ceiling painted in white helps to provide texture and let dappled light filter through to light up the space and allow glimpses of the sky and trees above so diners feel connected to the outside. Walls clad with old reclaimed white weatherboards helps to safely separate the Alfresco dining from the road traffic with large openings still allowing them to feel connected to the bustling street. A long bench seat running the length of the Alfresco helps to streamline the seating and creates better flow and circulation space. A feature baby pink Axon clad wall adds a pop of colour and a fun vibe. Eventually, creeping plants will grow over the space and help to soften the structure and provide additional greenery.