Dukes Coffee Roasters


  • Chris Connell Design


Community owned non-profit Ross House is the home for Dukes Coffee Roasters, where the project brief was to design a cafe with a warm atmosphere and sophisticated aesthetic that supports and brings awareness to the commitment that Ross House has to the environment and to a sustainable society. Sustainability was achieved through the design of Dukes, where it was designed around the in-house environmental processes that Duke’s staff facilitates. Environmental concerns were addressed through the use of recycled Victorian Ash timber, antique Belgium tiles and locally designed furniture, lighting fixtures and pottery.

Key Features


Ross House was struggling in continuing to provide affordable office space to its non-profit community groups therefore Duke’s, the building’s first profitable business, was introduced to encourage awareness and income.
The warm and sophisticated aesthetic of Duke’s is a welcoming space for professionals and passerby’s within the Flinders Lane precinct to enjoy their lunch and daily coffee. Dukes is a representation of Ross House’s philosophy; encouraging sustainability of the environment and our society through both its design and practice.
The inviting aesthetic of Dukes encourages the local community into the Ross House building further promoting and supporting our local society.


This design integrates recycled materials and fittings along with locally made pottery and furniture. The space’s cladding is handcrafted from recycled Victorian Ash timber sourced from an old wool store in Colac. This craftsmanship technique was not only chosen for its aesthetic but to support and encourage sustainability within our society. The furniture for Dukes was designed using the same recycled timber and along with a restored antique glass counter, sit upon antique Belgian encaustic tiles that clad the floor and walls.
Duke’s environmental philosophy paired with the use of recycled materials gives customers a whole and honest sustainable experience.


This project is an example of contemporary hospitality design. Sustainability is an important issue facing the hospitality industry and Dukes succeeds as an environmentally conscious space. Duke’s aim to minimise waste is achieved through recycling systems, biodegradable cups, 100% green power offset electricity and low energy LED lighting as well as encouraging customers to use reusable cups when purchasing their coffee. Dukes also features a recycling initiative with Melbourne city council who installed a commercial food dehydrator where all organic waste is turned into soil. Duke’s transcends just recycling and proudly educates its customers and the wider community about sustainability.


The Duke’s design is innovative in terms of its awareness for sustainability and initiation of design elements that support and encourage sustainable systems. This design allows for the facilitation of these systems that benefit the business, Ross House, the wider community and environment.
It was imperative that the functionality of the cafe be successful. Working with Duke’s staff allowed for an in-depth understanding and knowledge for how the cafe’s equipment and recycling systems were used to allow for an informative design to be produced that would meet the needs of the staff, to maximise service efficiency and quality of product.


Dukes fulfilled a need for a cafe within the Ross House building that was both aesthetically appealing and functional for the local Flinders Lane precinct.
The space needed to support and complement the fast pace and high turnover environment of the cafe whilst still maintaining efficiency for staff and comfort for customers. This was achieved through minimal yet highly considered joinery and furniture design along with carefully considered positioning of equipment and recycling systems.
Duke’s provides an inviting atmosphere with warmth and character to serve as a backdrop to a whole coffee experience, found within a community setting.

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