Skittle Lane blend their love of iconic, understated design with their passion for quality coffee to create spaces that are warm, inviting and effortlessly beautiful. Their refined approach considers all elements from functionality to form. To celebrate the opening of Skittle Lane in our shared Manly space, we chat to Jodie, Creative Director and Co-Founder, about her design process and inspired approach to hospitality.
How would you describe Skittle Lane's approach to design?
Intuitive and practical. Hopefully unique, with details of originality. I want every space to feel a little surprising each time but still have the Skittle Lane stamp on it. It’s a process that we’re learning and elevating as we grow and fine tune both the store designs and our processes. Our store designs must be classy, approachable and clearly show the love and attention that has gone into every detail.
Designed to elevate the coffee experience, your approach to hospitality is "a composition of both deliciousness, friendliness, and thoughtful surroundings." How has this concept informed the way you design your spaces?
Deliciousness refers to more than just coffee. It includes our environments, which draw you in with colours, lighting, textures, and cosy corners. Skittle Lane spaces are warm and inviting and leave you wanting more. To achieve this, our designs must be open and friendly and the layout of both the workflow and customer movement within the space is vital. Every touch point is considered in minute detail, from original concrete colours, curved corners and textured paints, through to the finish of the timbers. Consistency and excellence in coffee is everything we stand for, along with a wonderful and welcoming team of people.
Can you share with us the inspiration behind the Skittle Lane Manly store design?
Our initial reference is always Skittle Lane on King Street in Sydney’s CBD. From this central reference point I then consider the bones of the building, the light, the location, and the people who will be frequenting the store. This was a particularly enjoyable design process because we’re lucky enough to be sharing a beautiful space with Assembly Label. The feeling of flow and unison between the stores, whilst still being true to our individual brands, was the most important thing to consider every step of the way. I want people to visit the shared space and think "of course Skittle Lane is here, it makes perfect sense."
The mood board was ‘Skittle Lane CBD comes to the beaches’ and I drew inspiration from NZ and Scandinavian design and furniture.
What materials, textures and colours were you drawn to for the space?
Natural, raw, contrasting and textural. Off-whites, browns, greys and of course, black. Real and raw timbers, steel and concrete. Our coffee packaging is actually one of the main central reference points I use to design the counters and shelving systems in each store.
A major feature of the space is the coffee machine. How have you blended your love of coffee and your love of design to select a machine that delivers on both?
We don’t like anything fussy or gimmicky, or even too trendy. The La Marzocco Linea PB is timeless. It looks understated, cool, and classic and its sharp lines and simple exterior are another example of that contrast I love; simplicity on the outside and high tech features on the inside. It’s also very reliable; reliability and consistency are so important in coffee.
How do you want people to feel when they visit you in-store and what considerations where taken to inspire a mood or feeling?
At home. Relaxed. Inspired. We’re not right in the middle of Manly, so that feeling of happiness when you arrive was a fun consideration. The position of the shop with the morning sun, entering to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, fresh bakery treats, and a friendly face is a pretty good way to start each day. Sitting at the bar was our first design consideration, as we wanted the Manly space to still have a bit of a city vibe. It gives our visitors a great opportunity to sit and chat with the team.
Adorning your shelves is a curated offering of brew gear and homewares designed to complement the coffee experience. Tell us about the process of curating your lifestyle edit.
Every piece we select is chosen to complement our coffee and café experience. We’re lucky to have a very experienced team and even though I gravitate toward the highly designed and beautiful pieces, our baristas and roasters put everything to the test and provide feedback on what is a true representation of us and what we can and should offer. Products must both function well and be nicely designed. We’re always on the search for anything unique and original.
How can we re-create the Skittle Lane experience at home?
Everything we sell both in the stores and online is used in the cafes. The idea is that you can take Skittle Lane home with you, from the coffee to the machinery and kitchen ware. That includes Hasami mugs, Kinto brewers, Ferm Living dishcloths and so on. Most importantly our selection of coffee is well stocked on the retail shelves in every store and on skittlelane.com, along with brew guides on our journal. Our baristas are an incredible resource, so please ask plenty of home brewing questions when you visit. It’s all about the experience of enjoying a Skittle Lane brew in your own home and feeling like you’re part of our community, even if you don’t get the chance to visit us in store every day.