CITIZEN Coffee Pavillion

ZWEI Interiors Architecture

Citizen.MDW is a temporary pop-up café that explores how the design of both the structure and systems behind a coffee outlet can support a circular economy, change behaviour and lead to better sustainable outcomes both now and into the future.

This project was a self-driven experiment as part of Melbourne Design Week 2020 testing the parameters of sustainable hospitality design. As a structure that was never intended to be permanent, the project allowed ZWEI Interiors Architecture to explore the limits of sustainable, off grid design and has been a pilot case for an future structures that are in-keeping with the principles of circular economy.

ZWEI Interiors sought to only include recycled materials, fixtures and fittings that would either be recycled or at the least re-usable. Recycles plastic, sustainable wool and sustainable plywood formed key parts of the cafe’s shell, while all other elements in the build were borrowed and returned post defit. Designed using scaffolding as the framework, the roof was formed with 118 solar panels generating the electricity to power the café operations, while three Tesla off-grid power walls were mounted to the scaffold to store the electricity captured. The walls were repurposed milk crates, curved into folded forms, the crates are locked together vertically by clamped webbing, then tied horizontally using hemp ties.

Sustainability was not just etched into the façade of the project, but into its operations, where mushrooms displayed within the space were a living example of how coffee grounds can be used, as opposed to being sent to landfill.  The mushrooms were propagated into recycled plastic tubes and incubated in the mushroom farm in the Mornington Peninsula. Once the mycelium was ready, the tubes were transported to site and holes opened in the tubes, where they spawned beautiful mushrooms for show. Once they passed their life span, they were returned to compost. All the coffee grounds throughout the event were collected into bins and used by Reground for composting, mushroom farming and worm farms throughout Melbourne.

Photography by Andrew Curtis.


Lighting: Lighting Space. Finishes: Sustainable Living Fabrics, Designflow. Fittings & Fixtures: Mr. Scaffold, TESLA.