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50/50: Abbots and Kinney’s patisserie

50/50: Abbots and Kinney’s patisserie


Photography by David Sievers.

In 2015, pastry chef Jonny Pisanelli decided to turn his pop-up pastry shop in downtown Adelaide into a permanent store with a café and patisserie.

The brief for Abbots and Kinney’s interior involved two distinct elements. Pisanelli wanted it to celebrate his own art of pastry making and also famous developer Abbot Kinney, a Californian icon who brought the magic of the Venice Canals to Los Angeles in 1905. Kinney had brought Italy to America in 1905 and now Pisanelli was bringing a taste of Italy to Adelaide.


Responding to this, project architects Dave Bickmore and Graham Charbonneau from studio-gram, along with creative director Alex Hall and graphic designer Dave Lawson from Crafty have created an interior with a seemingly split personality.

“Duality, originality and craft were the binding elements that formed our overall concept for the project,” says Bickmore.


The interior is split in half on a diagonal, reflecting the dual inspirations for the space. One side features bespoke timber framing, while the other is flushed and painted black.

The cafe’s black wall features a painted tribute to Abbot Kinney. The mural depicts a palm tree with three different arrows representing Venice, Los Angeles and Adelaide. The one-of-a-kind timber framing has been built with blonde Tasmanian oak.


“Like Pisanelli’s trademark sfogliatelle [also known as a ‘lobster tail’ pastry], the patisserie is layered and exquisitely tailored. Every joinery item, including the leather-wrapped bin, are bespoke elements,” says Bickmore.

“Our client’s work is simple, yet inspiring, highly detailed and genuine,” said Bickmore. It was this observation that acted as the brief for both the selection of materials and how they were detailed for use in the project.


Timber was of key importance for the project, and all the timber throughout the patisserie was finished with Intergrain UltraClear.

Although timber makes up the bulk of the interior, leather, wired safety glass, black paint and polished concrete were also of key importance to form the simple, yet robust, palette.


The result is an eye-catching combination of raw materials, allowing visitors to connect with the men behind the brief while enjoying a unique dining experience.

Since completion in July 2015, Abbots and Kinney has received a slew of accolades, including a commendation in the 2015 Intergrain Timber Vision Awards.




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