Greenhouse by Joost

Bars, Cafes, Drink, Sydney / 5 April 2011

Sure, the Greens were rejected in the recent state election and we still don’t have a price on carbon, but that doesn’t mean us Sydneysiders don’t care about the environment.  We’ve just found a way of showing it that allows us to indulge in organic wine, spectacular harbour views and food prepared by celebrity chef Matt Stone.
Standing on the rooftop of what feels like an old shipping container, drinking wine out of recycled glass jars and being served by waiters in funky outfits from Vinnies, we are reminded by Joost Bakker to embrace our creative side and challenge our perception of what is possible.

Greenhouse at Joost takes the trend of vintage chic and old furniture to a whole new level – by having a genuinely positive impact on its environment.  The temporary pop-up bar was built entirely of recycled and recyclable materials, with straw insulation in the walls and furniture made from old irrigation pipes and packing crates.  The exterior walls are covered in strawberry plants, there is a herb garden on the roof and water is collected on site.
Joost Bakker describes himself as a “cross-disciplined creative” who works exclusively with the discard of human activity (what most of us would call rubbish) to demonstrate alternative ways of construction that meets the needs of society without compromising the environment in which the buildings stand. Artichoke magazine summarises his approach perfectly, saying that “each component of the building is a testament to years of intricate knowledge, development and the cultivation of the personal micro-networks necessary to support positive impact building.”  The toilets even use the water from handwashing to fill the next flush!
As we are served Matt Stone’s mouthwatering duck prosciutto on beds of watercress and wagyu beef gerello with green papaya and tamarind, it is hard to believe that all food arrives at Greenhouse as whole food every morning.  Grain is milled into flour on the premises for bread, pasta, pizza and pastries, juices are freshly squeezed and yoghurts and butters are made onsite.

After 8 weeks in Sydney, the Greenhouse has sadly been packed into three 12m containers to continue its international tour in Milan.  The travelling restaurant will then continue on to a number of other European cities. The original designs and specifications from the Sydney site will be maintained throughout the tour and adapted as required for each new site.
There is now a campaign to set up the unique bar as a permanent structure in Sydney. Rumours are that it is being fought over by a range of venues, from Barangaroo to precincts in the inner west.  For those who were unlucky enough to miss out during the past 8 weeks, or just want to re-experience the fun, our fingers are crossed!

Greenhouse by Joost is not just a trendy bar with beautiful views. Nor is it just an environmental statement in the form of a popular gimmick.  Every detail, from the slogans on the walls to the conveyor belt floors, forces us to take a step back, think outside the square and reconsider the way we think about our entertainment, food supply chain and fashion.  Let’s hope – for the sake of both the environment and our appetites – it makes a permanent comeback!