Refetorrio OzHarvest

Creating inviting interiors for a warm community hub

The challenge

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How can we create a welcoming and inclusive community hub for people in need? With no budget and undefined parameters, but the support of a group of our incredibly generous suppliers and contractors, how can we transform a 100-year-old building into a dignified and inviting dining venue?

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney is an Australian-first social impact collaboration between OzHarvest and world-renowned chef, Massimo Bottura’s not-for-profit organization Food for Soul. A unique place designed to offer our city’s most vulnerable a free nourishing meal made with rescued and donated food. As a pro bono partner, we contributed time and expertise to creating the Refettorio’s interior, joinery, fixtures and fittings as well as engaging artists, finding suppliers and helping determine the functionality of the flexible space.

Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney is an Australian-first social impact collaboration between OzHarvest and world-renowned chef, Massimo Bottura’s not-for-profit organization Food for Soul.

Our thinking

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Our objective was to represent OzHarvest’s values in an immersive way through a strong sense of generosity and place, using the colours representative of OzHarvests brand and the Australian landscape. The space needed to feel warm, a place to feel at home, with the aim of becoming a neighbourhood social hub open to anyone in need.

A group from our circle of suppliers generously agreed to donate time and resources. By working closely with them we determined what they could supply within our time frame and their budget and used this information to create parameters for our design.

The space needed to feel warm, a place to feel at home, with the aim of becoming a neighbourhood social hub open to anyone in need.

The creative

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Our approach was to firstly celebrate the natural features and textures of the building. Removing the render revealed a light terracotta, textured brick that imbued the space with warmth and familiarity. Where possible we re-used, recycled, used local, surplus and seconds items, including seconds crockery pieces from Mud Australia.

To convey generosity, we created the motif of the ‘giving’ basket and worked closely with artist Harriet Goodall to create a large, sculptural basket pendant within the multi-story entrance atrium.  Local indigenous artist Tegan Murdoch from Ngumpie Weaving produced a series of feature wall lights based on her beautiful, feathered baskets.

The results

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For us, the way people interact within a space ultimately determines if it is successful.

Seeing vulnerable people come together to enjoy a nourishing meal in the inviting interiors we designed for the Refettorio demonstrates the impact good design can have on environments and the people who inhabit them.

Ronni Kahn AO
CEO
OzHarvest
When designing the Refettorio’s interior, the Frost*collective team wanted to hero two things: Australia and OzHarvest. And they did just that. They imbued the space with the beauty of Australia through natural colours, raw features, and beautiful lighting. They found the core of OzHarvest to be ‘giving’, and represented this through beautiful basketry throughout the space, artworks made by Indigenous and local artists. What resulted was a stunning, warm, art-filled space, bringing beauty and dignity to our guests. Our biggest thanks to the team at Frost*collective for imbuing our small space with these invaluable qualities.”
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