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June 6, 2016

Good neighbours: Flightpath and Drink Eat Work

In our continued search for the most collaborative neighbours in Adelaide, CityMag has stumbled upon a partnership between two businesses based as much on ideological proximity as it is on geography.

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  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Pictures: Lauren Bezzina

The partnership between Flightpath Architects and their downstairs neighbour Drink Eat Work (DEW) functions so well because it is based on a shared idea that was conceived of independently by each business.

Director of Flightpath Architects Douglas Alexander and his partner Joyce Reid are the owners of the building at 101 Hindley Street, where the practice occupies the upper floor.

The downstairs tenancy has been variously utilised in their time by an art gallery, Flightpath’s reception and as meeting rooms. Over recent years, Joyce and Douglas have been plotting to do more with the space, which they have always seen as a frontage that could become part of the increasingly interesting and active day time trade along Hindley Street.

But the pair had a hard time finding a tenant that shared their vision.

“We went through two commercial agents and just didn’t get the kind of group we were interested in,” says Douglas.

“We just didn’t think Hindley Street needed another felafel bar or nightclub,” adds Joyce. “We thought that Hindley Street needed something a little bit different.”

At the same time Joyce and Douglas were tackling this problem, the duo behind creative agency Entropy & Co – Elisa Mercuro and Juan Londoño – were living in Sydney dreaming up ideas for a work space that incorporated a café and wine bar.

The two worlds collided when Joyce and Douglas decided to offer the downstairs tenancy on a rent-free model through Renew Adelaide. After seeing a Facebook post advertising the space, Juan and Elisa recognised it would be the perfect fit for the concept they had been developing.

“For this space I was very specific [when briefing Renew Adelaide],” says Joyce. “I had quite a brief written about the kind of people we wanted, but they’re better than I had even hoped for.”

An application process, some interviews and an interstate move later, Juan and Elisa were settled back in Elisa’s native Adelaide and operating DEW – a café and wine bar with a co-working space out back.

For Douglas and Joyce, the tenancy means their building is contributing to the street the way they always hoped it would.

“It actually connects the whole building to the street,” says Joyce. “We can hear lovely music, laughter, the most beautiful smells come up the stairs from the coffee and everything. It’s breathed new life into this building.”

For Elisa and Juan, the partnership means they’ve had the chance to try their idea without taking on too much risk, and they get plenty of support too.

“The support has been incredible, Joyce just has a million ideas and it still blows me away every time we get an email where she says she has contacted someone for us because she thought they could help,” says Elisa. “We’re blown away by their generosity.”

And – of course- there’s plenty of coffee, food and the occasional glass of wine heading up the stairs to Flightpath’s employees, and heading out the door to their other Hindley Street neighbours. And there’s nothing more neighbourly than keeping the whole block fed and watered.

“I had quite a brief written about the kind of people we wanted, but they’re better than I had even hoped for.” – Joyce Reid




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