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Style… it’s a passion of mine.

The doors swing open and before you the intricate beauty of Pollen unfolds as your eyes dart from colour to detail and then back again.

As your coffee is being prepared, you notice the textured linen of the menu. It’s a blue so deep you’re drawn in and the flash of metallic copper is all that stops you from daydreaming.

Tracy Keeley relishes in the opportunity to transform cafes and curate a feeling within that space. Here she shares her story of the elements involved in creating Pollen.

Over the years I have learned that my style is about incorporating function, versatility and beauty. For me, conveying a vision to an audience is about developing a concept. It lays the foundation for the total sensory experience.

When I look at a commercial space, I appreciate how much planning is required to translate the brand into a physical location. All the elements need to form a constellation that feels harmonious and makes sense to the consumer. Will the food and the plates match the vibe of décor?

In preparing my own design concepts, I focus on four key areas:


For me, I love to think of a palette as being made up of ONE primary colour, TWO secondary colours and a purposeful mix of textures, patterns and blocks of solid colour. Next time you’re at Pollen, pay attention to the combination of textures: marble, metallic, linen and how they interact seamlessly with the blue, white and lush green background.


The size and volume of the room will influence a lot of your decisions. Scale affects everything from what furnishings you can use to how your brand image will translate. At Pollen, I used the segmented nature of the building to delineate distinct areas, giving customers a feeling of ample space.


Pollen houses an eclectic mix of items which were, in fact, all carefully chosen for an overall look of harmony. On their own, some of the items may seem random but together they marry into one specific look. Even our ever changing floral arrangements are designed by our in-house florist to be perfectly in-sync with the room around them.

Space Plan

I like to consider my areas in ‘zones’ – we all love a private nook in a café where we can chat or work, undisturbed. When developing this type of floorplan at Pollen we carefully reviewed the way it would flow. This meant contemplating the movement of customers throughout the space culminating in a focal point – our exterior. We are set in a garden at the foot of a rainforest, can you get a better focal point than that?

Function over form

Having been in the hospitality industry for so long, there is one element that I have observed must come before style and that is functionality. Even the prettiest café will not appease someone who is waiting for their coffee as baristas and waiters stumble all over each other!

Storage is tight at Pollen and, yet, we have a lot to store. Working with my great team, we carefully designed the counter area, ensuring that every role within the café would have its own work station and service could flow seamlessly.

Interior styling may be more complicated than it first seems but this shouldn’t shadow the fact that it’s FUN. Selecting artisanal crockery, developing colour palettes, playing with textures – and florals – is something that excites me. Every new space represents boundless potential. And when styled in consideration of a few simple guidelines I hope you will be as happy with your results as I am with Pollen.

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