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13 Jul 2017

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Coffee meets culture

Southbank locals Anders McDonald and Paul Cook have joined forces to provide residents and workers with an added daily slice of culture to go with their coffees.

Having owned and operated Chelsini’s at Freshwater Arcade for the best part of eight years, Paul recently decided it was time to freshen up the look of his popular cafe.

Five-year Eureka Tower resident Anders has been a regular at Paul’s coffee shop for much of his time as a Southbanker and they have become good friends over that period.

After completing the makeover of his new-look store, Paul, who is also a former Southbank resident himself, had a freshened but empty wall space that required a bit of extra love.

Anders, a professional photographer, has since helped to fill the space with his images and he said the initiative had been great for both adding to Paul’s cafe and providing him with a space to exhibit.

“This is the first time I’ve exhibited and it’s been a really good joint venture between Paul and I and we’ve come up with something a bit different,” Anders said.

“Paul is a real people-person. Part of the reason you come here is because he’s a really good bloke and he looks after the customers and I’m fussy about my coffee and the way I’m treated and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

While he made his career as a consultant, Anders recently revisited his lifelong passion for taking photos by enrolling in a course at the Photography Studies College (PSC) on City Rd.

His talents have already been recognized by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and images from his latest series, Furtive, are currently on display and up for sale at Chelsini’s.

Having been well received by the local community, Anders will feature different series in three-month cycles with Paul, saying that it had been a great initiative for his business.

“When I started looking at renovations here there were so many ideas that I could take away but I really like the wood and with the frames and the couches the tones work really well,” he said.

“We used to have computer discs and pacman on the wall so it just wasn’t marrying to what the shop was. It’s now got a flow and aesthetically I’m convinced that we’ve got a more inviting space.”

Paul said that, while working in the Freshwater Arcade precinct had its challenges, the biggest positive about operating in the area was the sense of community amongst residents, workers and other tenants.

“It sounds very cliche but there is a lot of community down here,” Paul said.

“Particularly being a barista, it’s highly competitive but you get to have a lot of interactions and people really bond with your style and vice versa, so it’s really hard to have a bad day.”

And there is no better reflection of this community spirit than his friendship with Anders, who said that he “absolutely loved” life in Southbank.

Chelsini’s is located at 3 Freshwater Place, Southbank inside the arcade. To view Anders’ work or to get in touch visit

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