Genovese Coffee House
From Melbourne to Sydney
To any Melburnian, the Genovese family and their deeply entrenched place within the city’s coffee culture will be familiar. But when Adam Genovese decided to extend the branches of his Victorian-based, third-generation business to the streets of Sydney, the project was less about opening just another coffee shop, and more about crafting an experience that would broaden the awareness of the Genovese brand within its new home.
Enter Jeremy Bull of Alexander&Co, one of Sydney’s most esteemed and forward-thinking design practices, who was brought on board to capture the spirit of the Genovese brand and imbue the converted warehouse in Sydney’s inner-east suburb of Alexandria with a true sense of charm and narrative.
The property had previously housed a Pet Barn; its bright yellow exterior and dilapidated interiors primed for reinvigoration and begging for a renewed sense of purpose. Alexander&Co set about crafting a hospitality experience that would share the storied brand’s purpose with a fresh new audience. “We wanted to tell the origin story of Genovese and its traditional Sicilian roots through the creation of an atmospheric, micro-moment of Italy,” says Jeremy Bull, principal at Alexander&Co. So, Genovese Coffee House was born.
A retelling of Genovese’s rich heritage and over 50 years of experience in coffee manufacturing. While not originally conceived as a café, the hospitality space grew into a story of many chapters. Part roastery, part training facility, part dining room and part logistical base, the warehouse had to lean into different uses while remaining true to its core – creating exceptional coffee.
The outside street, vibrant and bustling, sits on a main road, where the entrance – paved in cobblestones and announced by a rustic red steel entrance – invites inwards. “We took the traditional entry vestibule and flipped it inside, so when you enter the space, it feels like you’re coming into a Sicilian Lane,” says Bull. “As if you’re emerging into a wonderland story of an Italian alley, where the air is cooled and a beautiful, gentle and ambient space greets you with open arms.”
The interiors, designed around a brief of sustainability and formulated with Alexander&Co’s signature specifications for carbon-neutral, reusable, recycled and compostable materials, are a microcosm of European-inspired magnificence. Exposed timber trusses evoke the building’s industrial origins, while a palette of warm, earthy tones, punctuated by accents of burgundy and orange, conjure a refined, yet casual ambience that invites guests to linger longer. A tactile brick curved wall, formed with San Selmo Reclaimed bricks in Limewash chosen for their carbon-neutrality and rustic appeal blends seamlessly with the innovative Durra Panel wall – a 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable insulation panel.
Joinery crafted from reclaimed timber, repurposed bathroom sinks, and recycled materials fill the space with character and charm and ensure that the expansive warehouse feels every bit as intimate as a hole-in-the-wall Italian espresso bar, while making use of the soaring ceilings and large square footage. The furniture choices and detailing are all “laced with memory, quirks and reminders of the origins of the Genovese family,” heralding back to the brand’s humble beginnings and European roots while planting their feet firmly in the present.
A true happy ending indeed, the new chapter of the Genovese family story is sensitively told with nuance and gusto in its sparkling new location and we can’t wait to see where it leads.