Collector in Focus: Dom Gattermayr

Collector in Focus: Dom Gattermayr

You currently run the much-loved Florian Cafe and your newest venture Juniper Eatery. Can you tell us about the vision for each venue, and how you manage your time between the two?

Although the spaces are both very different, the vision was for both neighbourhood eateries to feel homey, welcoming and warm. We wanted to steer clear of the clinical style "modern" cafe and lean into more of a European bistro style with lots of wood and warm colour tones. The spaces both have a mix of vintage and new vintage-style pieces that make it feel lived in and established. I work two days in the kitchen at both venues and then have a day free to be at either.

Can you tell us about where you live, who you live with, and a bit about some of your favourite home comforts?

I live in a Carlton North apartment with my partner Alex and cat Mooni. The apartment is owned by my sister and her husband who moved overseas for a few years so we are renting from them. They newly renovated the kitchen and bathroom which is a huge bonus. It's a really nice corner apartment with plenty of light and trees outside the windows. Because I work a lot, it's so important to me to come home to a nice space to relax in. Keeping the space bright and lively with artwork, flowers, lots of books and I do love an antique tchotchke which keeps the space personal and feeling like home.

What was the first piece of art you ever purchased? 

I lived in New York for a bit and my room was so small I could touch each wall if I lay in a star shape on my single bed... To avoid it being a total prison cell I decided I would need some art and ended up buying a print from an artist, Jeffrey Cheung, at the MoMA Art Book Fair the first weekend I arrived. The print is of a naked person (or maybe two) crouched over with lots of squiggly leg hair and under arm tufts and breasts in bright pink, blue and yellow watercolour. I have no idea what I was thinking but to this day I still have it and I still love it. Although it reminds me of quite a lonely time, I'm happy I was able to find comfort in something absurd and that also reflected my absurdly of small room. When I got back to Australia and officially moved out of my family home I properly started collecting and investing in art, but this was the first piece I bought out on my own.

Florian cafe has a wonderful salon hang. Can you tell us about some of the artworks you included here, and what sort of atmosphere you wanted to create in the cafe? 

The salon wall was something we thought necessary a few months after opening when we saw the space wasn't quite creating that homey feeling I mentioned before. The art is all from Rose (my business partner), mine and my sisters' collections. We have a mix of prints and oil paintings. Some are from the op-shop, one of mine is from artist Maya Barnstone and another I found on Canning St with a letter (a love letter to the painting really) about why it was time for it to find a new home as the walls of their home could no longer house it... Rose even painted one of them which is a fan favourite. The wall has lots of stories and memories.

What are some of your favourite artworks in your collection?

I have a soft spot for my Lucy Anderson painting that sits on a wall near the kitchen. You can only see it if you are standing in the kitchen, which is fitting for me as I see it a lot! I bought this from Sunday Salon during lockdown, a time when I was really looking to support local artists and makers. The colours are muted yellow and green and the painting is done directly onto a wooden block. It has such nice texture and works so well styled anywhere in the house. I've lived in three houses since I bought it and find it fits anywhere, with anything. 

I recently bought an Emma Creasey painting titled "Choir" from her most recent Sunday Salon collection. It was an instant connection when I saw it. She was inspired by Botticelli and I love the idea of modern renaissance inspired art. I'm sure one of the figures in the painting is holding a book, likely a choir book with the lyrics they are singing, but every time I see it I think it's an i-phone and someone taking a selfie... that makes me laugh (at myself).

Emma is probably my favourite local artist and I'm sure she knows this as I own quite a few of her works including a huge piece which sits in the stairwell at Florian.

I also have a Mia Boe tea towel that I got stretched over a canvas and framed. The colours are my favourite of any artwork I own.

You have recently been on a trip to Sri Lanka. What were some highlights, and how did they inspire you?

We stayed at some hotels designed by Geoffrey Bawa which were incredible, particularly if you are interested in design and architecture. We stayed at his residence in Colombo and his holiday house in Bentota which both have art and furniture preserved from when he was residing in these spaces. If in Sri Lanka I would highly recommend visiting or staying at Lunaganga or No.11 Colombo.

Everywhere I go on holiday I try to collect something that can hang on the wall or sit on a shelf. Sri Lanka is a country full of colour. Everywhere I looked quite literally left me speechless as I would hang out the Tuk-tuk trying to point something to my friend as we sped past, only to see something equally as eye catching on the next strip of houses or shops. I bought a wooden (what I'm calling) banana man to hang on a wall. It's currently sitting on a window sill, yet to find the perfect spot.

What dishes are you cooking on repeat this winter?

Laksa, beef short rib ragu with creamy polenta and potato, onion and cheddar galette with lots of dressed leaves.