Ritz & Ghougassian


Elsternwick, VIC, Australia

Rebecca Wilkinson

Tom Blachford

  • Elsternwick, VIC, Australia
  • Tom Blachford

Penta Cafe is a new conceptual Australian design of concrete elements fused with soft cosy leathers.

Penta Cafe has been designed using orthogonal concrete elements, which rise from the floor to create a unique interior design eatery in Elsternwick, Melbourne.

Urban architects Ritz and Ghougassian have created an upbeat interior design of polished grey concrete throughout the premises.

The polished grey concrete floor throughout Penta, has been lightly ground back in-order to expose loose ends of aggregate throughout.

Additional concrete elements of bench tops and tables, has been used to create a coffee and waiting station, married with terrazzo clad plinths which form seating for the café.

Walls of the café have been clad in a veil of perforated aluminium, which folds itself across the creases of the wall, screening both the kitchen and smaller private dining areas from view.

Light has been balanced well in the interior space throughout, with the use of metallic apertures, creating a conceptually interior space, suspended at the horizon line between the two opposing elements of concrete and air.

The heaviness of the concrete ground plane is juxtaposed to the mass of nothingness – the perforated metal cladding.

To soften, but maintain the clean lines of interior design in Penta, deep cigar leaf coloured leather folds, loosely fit over stainless-steel rods, creating a cushioned finish to the masonry plinths, whilst fern trees dot themselves around the café casting leafy, fibres shadows across interior metal skin.

Designer Ritz and Ghougassian was approached by the owner of Penty, with the request of created a space, which honoured the food offering of colourful displays with seasonal dishes. The dishes on offer are given a muted and distilled background to allow them to be the real stars of the cafe.

Ritz and Ghougassian took the opportunity to push the limitations of what people would otherwise expect, both aesthetically and experientially from a hospitality venue. Excellent interiors are masterful in light and shade, curating the subtle contrast of textures and materials.

Penta was certainly an exercise in all these things. The burnished concrete floors and silvery terrazzo banquette’s are juxtaposed by the playfulness of the draped leather banquette cushions and striking pop of colour the Australian Fern adds to the cafe.

Sun light fills the main dining hall and the high ceilings echo a sense of grandness, whilst the communal dining at the rear is clouded in a midst of shadow providing a contrasting and much needed space of refuge from the main dining area.

Ritz and Ghougassian were motivated and inspired by the semi-perminant nature of an eatery and the endless possibilities this notion afforded them in their approach to the project. Allowing them to explore new processes, materials and different ways of construction.

This is exampled in the perforated aluminium screens. To create something reminiscent of mist between the ceiling and ground planes involved sampling an array of screens and prototyping the veil of perforated aluminium across walls and ceilings.

“We found the creation of the leather cushion detail to be a very involved process. A combination of prototyping and working closely with the upholsters to create an effortless fall over the stainless-steel rods which forms the iconic backrests to the banquettes.

Distilling the palate to a few materials is something that we are constantly having to consider throughout all phases of the process. As a result, innovation is always present in how we design and construct and is something that drives our creativity.” The designers stated.

Photography by Tom Blachford.

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Tom Blachford

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