Amber Road has completed a new outpost for Dan Jackson, owner and operator of Edition Roasters, in Sydney‘s Haymarket. The humble and evocative 110-square-metre cafe emanates traditional Japanese rural life, existing in stark contrast to the modern city which surrounds it. The highly textured all-black palette sits delicately upon a sculptural, organic interior, creating an instantly familiar space with references to simpler times.

The site came with a 400mm set-down, splitting the existing concrete shell in half. This created an ideal opportunity to create a sunken dining experience, without the need for excavation. With three distinct seating arrangements, patrons can choose a seat along the sunken perimeter under a maple tree, an intimate corner or at the chef’s kitchen, with each one providing a unique experience.

The work zone was designed around efficiency and speed with individual stations separated by generous thoroughfares, further articulated through highly tactile Japanese materiality. A sculpted, dirty drop-off window appears as if the hole was made as an afterthought. Patrons enter more intimate dining areas through a sculpted header, seemingly supported by another charred timber sleeper, fixed to a textured stone plinth.

This organic all black fit-out is forever in a state of flux. Its reflective polished render deviates from inky indigoes to warmer brown hues depending on light filtration through the ethereal charcoal cotton drops. A deciduous maple, integrated into a timber planter, changes colour alongside the seasonal menu. Charred timbers and painted walls, complement the smell of smokey coffee beans and rich yet simple family recipes on offer. Patrons return to experience the myriad of different dining experiences, unveiling something new with every visit.

The space conjures memories of family meals with the traditional ‘zaisu’ seating being a particular favourite amongst the all Japanese staff. The client wanted the café to appear as if the tenancy had always been there; and that the new development had been built around it. Timber blocks were embedded into the new concrete pour upon entry to appear as if the concrete had worn thin; exposing the original detailing. This notion was further developed by applying centuries-old Japanese materials and techniques, some of which included – ‘shou sugi ban’: a traditional way to preserve timber by charring it; ‘shirasu kabe’: a unique raked wall plaster made from volcanic soil applied to the point of sale; and ‘zaisu’: Japanese seating typified as a chair with no legs.

“I wanted the space to have an old world, traditional Japanese vibe and feel. With our original store in Surry Hills being very white and clean, I wanted this new store to be the opposite,” explains Dan Jackson, owner/ operator of Edition Roasters. “Both myself, our staff, and customers love this space; spending hours after work chatting, eating together and drinking. A home away from home.”


See more projects by Amber Road on Yellowtrace here.


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[Images courtesy of Amber Road. Photography by Prue Ruscoe.]


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