California was booming at the turn of the 20th Century thanks to improved transport links with the rest of the country and soil that, once irrigated, proved exceptionally fertile for agriculture. Developers went to town, and among them was the visionary Abbot Kinney, whose 1905 plan to recreate the canals and bridges of Venice in Los Angeles ranks among the most ambitious plans of the time. Fast forward more than a century and we’re swapping L.A. for Adelaide, South Australia, where chef Jonny Pisanelli has set up a café in tribute to Kinney revolving around a more traditional Italian import.
Pisanelli’s place, called Abbots and Kinney, specialises in Italian coffee and the pâtissier’s own sweet creations such as his signature sfogliatelle. The interior was put together by Studio Gram, in collaboration with Crafty Designs‘ Dave Lawson and architect Alex Hall, who have kept things brilliantly simple.
A large white tree mural set against a huge swathe of black illustrates the link between the Italian city of Venice, the LA reproduction and the Adelaide business. A diagonal sliver of bare concrete flooring separates the inky right hand side from the timber clad left, which is a triumph of bespoke joinery. The central dining set-up cleverly arranges three tiers of wood to create a split-level table that also gives the impression of sports stadium terracing facing the room’s graphic focal point.