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Melbourne isn’t called the coffee capital of Australia for nothing and as such, competition is rife. So if you’re looking to set up a new cafe or revamp your existing one to get a slice of the action, you’ll need a theme or design that’s going to stand out. This of course is in addition to serving great coffee. One such theme that has the capability to create an instant wow factor is by mixing contemporary design with an antique, industrial edge.
Let’s face it, furniture at its core is a functional item which serves a particular purpose. Antique/industrial furniture is a simple yet robust collection of tables and chairs that evoke that great period of ‘fit for purpose’ industrialisation and manufacture. So antique tables with cast iron bases and recycled timer tops, or robust ‘no frills’ seating made from steel, iron, or wood that might seem just as at home in a factory setting, is what you should be looking for. With this in mind, here are some great examples.
Tolix bar stools and chairs epitomise everything that is both industrial and antique. Initially manufactured by Xavier Pauchard in the mid 1930’s their simplistic yet robust design is evocative of a bygone era of manufacture and design. Even today, Pauchard’s chairs are gracing café’s and bistro’s throughout the world as they were back in the 1930’s and this has much to do with it’s uncomplicated almost effortless design which still looks contemporary some 30 years later.
It’s crazy to think that original Tolix stools were made in their hundreds of thousands and were accessible to all, yet nowadays they command a fair price. For this reason for anyone looking to create a antique industrial look using original Tolix furniture may find this unachievable on a budget. A better option is to opt for Tolix inspired seating. It’s made to function, and look just like the original except it’s a fraction of the price. For this reason, it’s a more affordable option.
Toledo draughting stool
If there’s one piece of furniture that evokes the grime, grit, and mechanisation of the industrial period it’s the draughting stool. It was initially manufactured during the machine age of the first half of the 20th century and contains a mix of heavy steel and raw wood materials. It has a fully adjustable seat which rotates up and down by means of spindle and even with its raw simplicity the Toledo draughting stool was made to withstand heavy weights and frequent use. Even now you can still pick up an original for somewhere between $150 and $300 from vintage outlets or the internet. However just like the Tolix stool if you want to save yourself some money while still achieving a great look then there are some pretty good replica designs out there at cheaper prices.
What about tables?
Contrary to popular belief antique industrial tables don’t have to appear cold, harsh, and totally impractical. Instead opt for cast iron based with beautifully crafted wooden tops the rich warming tones add a touch of luxury. Alternatively go bright and bold with zinc, copper, or steel coloured metal table tops to give a contemporary feel to an antique look.
At Cafe furniture Melbourne we stock a wide range of antique industrial inspired furniture including the drafting stool and Tolix inspired seating. Check out our antique range for further details.