Innovation That Matters

Pop-up cafe is a (straw) monument to sustainability

Food & Drink

We’ve written numerous stories about pop-up spaces and sustainable innovations, but a new exhibition in Melbourne combines the two with a temporary cafe that’s designed to demonstrate creative ways to put sustainability into practice. Constructed about a month ago in Melbourne’s Federation Square, Greenhouse by Joost is built entirely from recycled and recyclable materials. Straw bales, for example, are set into a fully recyclable steel framework that was uncoiled and cut on site, thereby forming the structure’s exterior walls. Floors are made of deconstructed shipping crates, tables are fabricated from redundant fire hydrants, chairs are put together from restructured street signs and shade-cloths woven from tiles discarded by the Melbourne Cricket Club. An interior wall, meanwhile, comprises a small forest of wild strawberry plants growing in old plastic palettes, while a rooftop garden supplies several of the edibles served up by the Greenhouse’s vintage-clad waiters and waitresses in tiny “taste-tubes” reclaimed from scientific trash. Behind the effort is celebrated flower artist and waste wizard Joost, who hopes “that this cost effective, self-sustaining, pop-up structure might serve as more than a momentary mirage in the city of Melbourne. Ideally it will educate, generate debate, and serve as a model for a cheaper, more spirit-lifting form of public housing in our suburbs,” the site explains. The Greenhouse is slated to disappear at the end of January–without a trace, of course–but it’s scheduled to reappear at the Milan Furniture Fair next year. Seeing is believing, as the old adage goes, and for all the designers and builders that participated on the project, it’s a sort of tryvertising as well, giving consumers a firsthand taste of what can be done. One for sustainability pros to emulate in other cities around the world? (Related: Test-sleeping for homebuyers.) Spotted by: David Haddock



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