DRESS FOR SUCCESS -the importance of getting it right

The business world is changing rapidly. The commercial world is moving online, and shopfronts and offices are in an era of change – colliding and evolving, with ‘old school’ industry disappearing, and new businesses being both invented and reinvented.

Organisations are moving towards modern workspaces, where employees (especially the current generation of Millennials and Gen Zers), engage with these spaces based on more than just technology, but the need for connection and communication.


Open designs are on the rise, replacing the traditional – isolating – cubicle-style offices. Multi use spaces, hybrid shops, and intermixed office environments - previously seen only in major cities - are now influencing change here in our own regional town. But many businesses are yet to implement and successfully employ this design shift!

Commercial interior design is now a necessity for business; it should not be an afterthought but professionally implemented (and not by a family member or friend). It’s crucial that the design of your business suits and impacts your clients, represents your brand, is current and up to date, yet also remains timeless.

Careful thought needs to go into finishes that have not been overused in the marketplace. There should be good, clear traffic flow, effective acoustics, privacy, storage space, logical work flow, shared spaces and even space for entertaining. (yes, the world is changing!)

A good commercial designer will help create a business ready for success. Statistics show (Journal of Experimental Psychology) that work productivity & creativity is increased by 25% when well thought out areas for independent working, co working, socialising and connecting in work spaces are implemented. But note it takes more than knocking down a few walls to create a space that fosters growth and success and nurtures the cross-pollination of ideas of employees from different disciplines.

Lisa Daniel from The Design Cupboard 2019


Local Work: Silvio's Italiano

Park Beach Plaza Goes Chic

In Mid-2017 I was approached by Paul Spinglio to help with Silvio’s - his new, soon to be venture of a combined restaurant/deli/wood fired pizza and wine bar at Park Beach Plaza.

The brief Paul gave me was that it had to be ‘Melbourne’ (which is great because that’s my heritage), he wanted a look that was reminiscent of ‘Old style Italian cafes/deli/restaurants,’ a contemporary look & feel and something different to what has been done in Coffs Harbour.


When planning a commercial design space, my aim is to make it WOW, I want people to come in and get impacted. So, for me the most important factor is the wow factor and creating a big impression! I then get down to the function of the space and how every area needs to work and flow into all other connected areas. With years of hospitality experience as a Chef in Melbourne restaurants, and owning, designing and running Cafes and restaurants, I know what you need to create a well functioning Space. The kitchen and service areas are the heart and you need to get this right first. I then design to ensure good traffic flow and allow for eating and service areas that need to be visual to staff. It’s also important to design all separate spaces (deli, wood fired pizza, cafe, bar and external areas with smart and well thought out storage space, and, a lot of thought needs to go into comfortable seating for clients with various options available for private and shared eating areas.

I planned for areas to accommodate what people were there for - the deli, seated dining or a glass of wine. As the restaurant is situated in Park Beach Plaza, I knew there would be people looking for alternate dining options to what was around, and, I also wanted to attract different customers to Paul’s existing cafe in the Plaza, JBN which caters to a older market.

When working on commercial designs, it’s essential to have a great team and because I believe in keeping it local, I used Coffs Harbour based businesses for the fit out. I was already working with Mick Canning from Ballyness and Plumbe joinery but when I went on the hunt for some local artisians, I came across Ash Johnson from Open Studio for the feature mural, Martin Thomasoni for the custom internal table tops, bench seats and bar façade and Craig Brown for the custom deli/homewares table. For photography, Elliot Daniel from The Design Cupboard worked on all the imagery that curved around the bulkeads and ran down the walls. We did many ‘on location visits’ and ‘shoots’ to get what we wanted with fresh grown coffee beans, soiled hands holding tomato plants, and the local legends wall with imagery of the local artisans that contributed to the fit out.

The total duration of the project took approx. 5 months. Having a quick turnaround time is important in order for businesses to get up and running to turn a profit. From concept boards to cabinet design to sourcing furniture and liaising with trades, the final product turned out pretty great :)

Professional Photography for Silvio’s Italiano

When shooting imagery for Silvio’s, I wanted to create a story of local food and the local artisans with their personalities on show. Warmth and moodiness was given to the space by the use of low key photography which faded out to a matte black and then back in again where I needed it with more imagery to a connecting area.

Commercial design Coffs Harbour Silvio's Italiano_9.jpg
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