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Pop-up to prop up coffee culture at Centenary

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Grabbing a coffee on the run will soon take on another meaning as this transportable cafe and gallery prepares to launch in Canberra.

Nicknamed Walt and Maz after Walter Burley Griffin and his wife, Marion, the pop up constructions are the brainchild of designers Nikki Butlin and Lester Yao, members of architecture collective CanberraLab.

The idea of pop up architecture is one the collective has been investigating for a while, Ms Butlin said.

“It’s something really temporary, something fun and a way to use spaces in a unique way,” she said.

“It’s a kind of engaging way to talk to people about architecture in Canberra. It’s a project which helps inject some fun and life into Canberra.”

The pop ups are currently under construction, with designers cutting up and reassembling a pair of shipping containers while sticking to a strict budget of $50,000. 


Ms Butlin said she and Mr Yao would be collaborating with a number of local artists and designers to complete the project, with each working on a separate detail such as stools or tables.

“It’s about showcasing the talents that we have in Canberra,” she said.

“This is supposed to be a project for the whole community.”

Food, coffee and drinks for the project will be provided by Two Before Ten, a city café owned by Jarrod Deaton.

The café has also been heavily involved in promoting the local art and design scene, says Mr Deaton, who has hosted industry nights and product launches on site.

“We’ve been interested into expanding into little urban interventions like this for a little while,” he said.

“It is right up our alley. It’s nice way of engaging with different parts of Canberra.”

Though locations and planning issues are still being finalised, the pop ups will debut as part of the Enlighten Festival in March before cropping up at events such as You Are Here and the Big Birthday Weekend.

The project - partially funded through the Centenary of Canberra - is still seeking sponsors, as well as additional artists and designers