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Populus Café - when inner-city sophistication comes to the suburban fringe, by popular demand.

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Populus Café - when inner-city sophistication comes to the suburban fringe, by popular demand.

As our cities bulge and the urban sprawl sees fast-growing outer-suburban municipalities take off, it’s natural that the desire for some inner-city sophistication creates a niche for clever entrepreneurs.  It’s a siren-call for Melbourne’s famed café society, by popular demand.

Heeding the call is Populus, a new café in Berwick, in Melbourne’s outer-east, that focusses on community and design – as much as the coffee and food.


It’s the third café that design studio Biasol have designed for their long-term friend and hospitality entrepreneur, Rob Salha, following in the footsteps of Hutch & Co and Little Hugh, that are also enlivening the café scene in Melbourne’s east. Named after the Populus trees that line Berwick’s High Street (and, of course, the naturally resultant popularity of the café) this 120-seat venue offers a more sophisticated palette than its sister venues.

“Populus is the third café we have designed for Rob, and where the previous venues have had simple material and colour schemes, we felt Populus needed a richer, more mature palette,” says Design Director, Jean-Pierre Biasol.  “We contrasted rose and blush hues against the newest terrazzo release from Fibonacci Stone, called Wolf.  These selections, set against the charcoal stained timber, created a sophisticated design that is fresh, and welcoming for the community.”

It was also a case of overnight popularity for Wolf, as Fibonacci Stone’s Creative Director, Michael Karakolis explains. “When Jean-Pierre contacted us to discuss this project, mentioning his desire to use a black-based stone, we could not resist showing him a design we were developing, called Wolf.  He immediately saw its potential for the project, and the rest, they say, is history – Wolf was launched before we could even plan it.”

Wolf is a perfect stone for hospitality projects like Populus, with the expected high-frequency use of wet areas, benches and floors. It has excellent durability and wearability that will only look better over time,” says Michael.

Paying homage to the glory of New York’s early skyscraper era, and the millions who headed there in search of streets paved with gold, Wolf is unabashedly powerful – you can almost see the glint of gold in its eye. Intense black and brown shards with just a glimmer of shine are set into a mid-grey base to create a strong, supremely metropolitan product.

Wolf is the latest addition to our Neues collection, where architecture and nature collide in an ode to the hard-edged beauty of Brutalist forms. It is available in 400×400, 600×600 and small format slabs, 1530x680x30.

Like all of our products, Wolf is a stocked item, with no lead time or minimum order quantity (MOQ) – ensuring that you experience no project delays, no need to re-select, and have no disappointed clients.

Photography by Jack Lovel