Project Team

design: TomMarkHenry

Photo Credit: Damian Bennett


lighting: Inlite
tiles: Academy Tiles
furniture: Atmosphere, Coco Republic

Indigo is a well-established café in Double Bay, Sydney, which is much loved by locals and its loyal clientele. TomMarkHenry has redesigned and refreshed Indigo with an emphasis on soft tones and textures, creating a space that’s comfortable and timeless and slows traffic on the leafy suburban street.

Indigo has a strong following and its design needed to reflect the casual sophistication of its food and service,” says Chloe Matters, Director of TomMarkHenry. “Our aim was to make Indigo feel like an extension of home. We wanted to give the space new life and to make it look and feel like it was meant to be on that street.”

The name of the café and its location served as key aspects of the design and guided the enduring colour palette of indigo and white complemented by textured neutral tones. In a nod to the name, the façade of the building has indigo-coloured tiles and awnings that visually frame the lighter interior. Inside, the banquettes have blue linen backrests and dark-blue leather seats; metal has a blue sheen; and timber joinery has an indigo stain.

The material palette is likewise soft and durable and brings residential materials into a commercial setting to foster comfort and create the sense of home. Rendered walls are light and textured and timbers pale and tactile. Laid in irregular widths, the timbers are safeguarded by white tubing with black corner joints. These white and black accents stand out against the neutral hues and complement the century-old white villas along the street. The soft textures and tones continue in the light-grey resin flooring, mid-grey Tadelakt-finished service counter and the blackened-zinc
counter tops. Tabletops and surfaces are honed Concordia stone with veins of bluegrey quartz that has an organic and abstract character.

Excluding the hand-woven Stipa chairs and svelte Drexel sled chairs, TomMarkHenry custom designed all the features inside Indigo. This includes the elongated curved mirrors and lighting above the banquettes as well as the signage throughout.

Functionality also proved important as Indigo transitions from day to evening and accommodates a high number of customers, staff and table turnovers. The café is spread across two separate but proximate buildings with al fresco dining in front of each and on the paved, landscaped island in the centre of the road, which serves to slow and stop passing traffic. TomMarkHenry retained the layout of one building, while reconfiguring the other to improve functionality for staff and to increase seating capacity.

Refreshed and redesigned, Indigo now better reflects its regular clientele who place a high value on lifestyle, quality food and well-designed surroundings. However, it still remains comfortable, casual and home-like as it embodies easy-going elegance.

TomMarkHenry thrives on the creative development of unique and exceptional spaces such as Indigo and continues to push the boundaries of design and expectation with its authentic and adaptable approach.