Ona Coffee

Breathe Architecture

Canberra-based Ona Coffee, makes it’s Melbourne debut in an understated and inviting Brunswick warehouse conversion. Ona is a hospitality project that is 100 per cent carbon neutral in operations.

One of Australia’s first hospitality projects to be completely carbon neutral in operations, Ona is exceptional in its sustainability outcomes. Ona is an adaptive re-use project, using as much of the existing building fabric as possible with recycled and locally sourced materials throughout. Pride of place is the espresso bar clad in recycled brick offcuts diverted from landfill and the seating is made from recycled bricks from the existing site.

Sustainability features include 100 per cent electric operations, induction cooktops, 20kW of solar situated on the re-insulated roof with remaining energy requirements provided by 100 per cent GreenPower. A rigorous carbon audit was undertaken to offset any greenhouse gas emissions. Five thousand litre rain water tanks, organics waste streams, natural light and ample bike parking were also incorporated into the build.

Custom plates made from recycled coffee grounds are created next door at the School of Clay and Art, and rather than space for cars, a multilevel amphitheatre that in time will be wild with greenery, was built by locals and for locals. Sun-drenched but shaded by natives, this built space is for coffee drinkers, food lovers, dogs, kids, prams, wheelchairs. With the impact of COVID-19, the timber decking became imperative to provide as much of Ona’s seating requirements as possible outdoors.

The design represents the ethical ethos of Ona’s mission: to work with farmers from around the world ensuring a fair trade strategy that sees farmers valued, treated with respect and future livelihoods protected.


Lighting: ISM Objects, About Space, Dowel Jones, Ross Gardam, Café Ideas, Beacon Lighting, The Lighting Collective, electrician (BREC). Finishes: recycled bricks, recycled timber (Urban Salvage), Dulux.


Photography: Tom Ross