I think I knew how I wanted The Sweet Meadow to look as a physical space before I had the name or even the final product offering.
The very nature of eating out at a cafe or restaurant is an experience, and as such, it is necessary to consider the tangible elements of this experience and how they help build the brand story.
With the word 'meadow' in my business name I wanted to make sure I found a space that would allow me to develop unique ways to display plants, flowers and food that makes people feel like they are outdoors.
The past couple of months have seen me work with Brandrick Architects to develop a store layout and structure that would support this 'paddock to plate' instore experience. While I can't reveal too much yet, there has definitely been five key establishments that have served as my inspiration in this process. If you can imagine how these five places would look all meshed into one then you've got The Sweet Meadow!
I think Satoshi Kawamoto is a genius. This Japanese plant artist is the brainchild behind plant stores Green Fingers (Japan) and Green Fingers Market (New York). I first discovered his work while I was browsing through a book store in Milan. I couldn't understand any of the text as it was all written in Italian, but as soon as I got home I purchased his book and have been a fan ever since. His ability to create ordinary spaces into something magical with plants is beyond anything I've ever seen.
The Grounds of Alexandria
This place is an institution. I love the story behind it - in its former life, the space was a car park in an industrial suburb of Sydney. After months of work, The Grounds was launched as a coffee roasters and eatery, and has now become an urban sanctuary with a cafe, bar, outdoor eatery, florist, market stalls, and bakery. I love the way these guys style their spaces with food, plants, props and furniture.
I came across this store on a recent visit to Byron Bay. It's about a 10 minute drive from Byron, in the sleepy town of Newrybar. I spent over an hour in this store. Every space I walked into felt like it was a totally new shop. This is the idea I guess - to showcase a different artisan in each area. A great concept, as it means each room is a new space to be discovered. I love the carefully curated selection of product on offer. Well worth the drive to visit if you're ever in Byron.
On my last visit to Adelaide (we're talking like 8 years ago) my parents insisted on driving us through the historic town of Hahndorf. I was in love with the place as soon as we arrived. Poet's Ode is one of the gorgeous boutiques found here, although I only stumbled across it online recently (might be a good excuse to head back to the Adelaide Hills). The aesthetics of this store blows my mind. I love the simple elegance in the styling and the way the owners have used beautiful antique pieces to display their products.
This place just oozes cool. A coffee and booze bar in Berlin, Germany, Roamers has a cozy rustic vibe with a knack for plant styling. I especially love their furniture choices - nothing is matching but it all just seems to work. If I was an alcohol or caffeine drinker this place would be my local!
Images of Green Fingers, Poet's Ode and Roamers from Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr