“Less, but better” is the mantra that motivated design legend Dieter Rams. It’s a philosophy brought to life at 580 Bench, the new St Kilda Road cafe from the Slater Street Bench crew. Based in the lobby of a towering office building, the cafe is a study in minimalism. A striking white marble bench dominates, seemingly floating in the centre of the space.
Drawing on the skills of co-owner Jared Lawler’s partners Josh Crasti, an architecture student, and Frankie Tan, who has a background in interior design, the concept was developed to echo the kitchen bench.
“You don’t sit behind a counter here, there’s no big divide,” Lawler says. “You can watch the baristas working and see the amount of effort all our staff members put in.”
The cafe is essentially a blank canvas, crafted to draw your focus to what you’re there for – the coffee. It’s from Small Batch, (other roasters will feature from time to time), and each cup is served on Japanese wooden boards to perfectly frame the drink.
As with any good design, there are details you won’t notice unless you’re paying attention – such as the delicate “magewappa” (bent wood) cedar sugar bowls, and the light installation perched in the corner. The food selection is equally stripped back; Butterbing Biscuits and Shortstop doughnuts every Friday, plus rolls and pastries everyday.
580 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm