Lauren Main

“A vessel made from tree bark traditionally used by Indigenous Australian women to carry water, fruit & nuts.”

Coolamon Canteen is a public Canteen and Indigenous Australian cooking studio owned and operated by the global grassroots organisation Slow Food.

The cooking studio acts as a vessel for knowledge. Its purpose is to teach the community about Indigenous Australian cooking techniques and native food traditions that are at risk of being forgotten.

Native foods that are demonstrated in the studio will also be menu items in the Canteen downstairs. A retail space in the canteen will have Indigenous foods such as bush breads, grains, nuts and seeds for purchase. This integrated approach aims to further educate and engage the community on the history of Indigenous Australian culture and aligns with the Slow Food ideologies in understanding the cultural and social importance of food.

The materiality for this design speak to simplicity, rooted in a soft, tonal quality. Natural materials such as stone and timber were purposely selected based on their relationship with the earth.

The two arbour frame insertions into the canteen were inspired by the arched curvature of the Coolamon vessel. The arched form was repeated to create free-standing structures that define the circulation of the canteen floor plan. Sheer curtains hang lightly either side of the central arbours. The curtains act as a visual divider between the dining and servery zones while also acting as an acoustic treatment. The diffused light that filters through the curtains creates a transcendent-like atmosphere.

The long refectory style tables that are encased by the arbours encourage communal dining. The design intent is to encourage the community to come together to feast, celebrate the native food on offer and to facilitate discussion about the Slow Food movement and the preservation of tradition.

always was, always will be Kaurna land

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