Designed by Cumulus Studio, Protagonist cafe and bar is nestled in the historic arts precinct on St Kilda Rd, Melbourne next to the National Gallery of Victoria and the State Theatre. The original cafe had become outdated compared to its grand neighbors and needed its own unique identity.
The design needed to create a relationship between the cafe and Arts Centre Melbourne’s Theatres Building. The forecourt on which Cento sits is a key entry point for visitors so it was important that the need for the cafe to have its own identity did not compete with, challenge or obstruct views to the Theatres Building.
Cumulus Studio used the theatre as inspiration with theatrical curtains made of Bronze Kaynemaile mesh which completely encloses the cafe. The curtains are raised during cafe opening hours using a system of cables that sit under the canopy and then lowered when the cafe is closed at night. The color of the architectural mesh is a reference to the center's landmark spire.
The Kaynemaile mesh not only provides a bold and eye-catching surround for the cafe but is multifunctional, forming a screen at night on which visuals can be projected to market upcoming events. The mesh is made from a fire and UV resistant polycarbonate. The strength and durability of Kaynemaile were crucial to the project to enable the screen to be regularly raised and lowered.
Kaynemaile’s collaborative approach at the design stage ensured the ambitious giant liftable screen concept could be realized. Using prototypes for a few elements, the team was able to easily work through the key issues with the team at Cumulus.
The Protagonist’s contemporary, functional design and gleaming Bronze exterior make a big statement and it is now right at home among the historic and stately buildings of St Kilda Road.
Product System Used
Multiple solutions for exterior environments—facade cladding, rain and wind screening, and solar shading.
|Project ||‘Protagonist’ cafe and bar, Arts Centre Melbourne |
|Architect ||Cumulus Studio |
|Location ||Melbourne, Australia |
|Photography ||Sean Fennessy |
|Mesh Colour ||Bronze |