Top 10: Ethical design gift guide

By Penny Craswell

Design isn’t just about aesthetics, and to prove it, this ethical gift guide lists a few of the many designers and brands now donating to charity or committed to ethical practices. So, read on, this is your chance to give back this holiday season – not just to families and friends, but also to those in need.

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The Pretty Fly pin by Annie Hamilton. Photo: supplied


1. Increasingly, community-minded makers and sellers are donating a portion of their profits to charities. Sydney-based multi-disciplinary designer Annie Hamilton donates 10% of sales from her pins and art prints to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre to help support and empower people seeking asylum in Australia. With a focus on insects and patterns inspired by plants, including the Pretty Fly enamel pin set consisting of venus fly trap and matching fly, Hamilton’s work also includes clothing and scarves, made locally and ethically in Sydney by a small team of makers in Redfern. Read more

Gelato design at Christmas

The culinary geniuses at Sydney’s Gelato Messina have released an amazing new gelato design in time for Christmas – a giant Christmas bauble which they are calling “Michael Baulblé”.

Michael Baulblé by Gelato Messina is a giant chocolate and ice cream Christmas bauble. Photo: supplied
Michael Baulblé by Gelato Messina is a giant chocolate and ice cream Christmas bauble. Photo: supplied
Michael Baulblé by Gelato Messina served up. Photo: supplied
Michael Baulblé by Gelato Messina served up. Photo: supplied

A gold-dusted chocolate shell hides a spherical ice cream cake flavoured with burnt butter and gingerbread, with pear mousse and fruit mince florentine, and is served with vanilla brandy custard.

“Designing gelato cakes is our version of art,” says the Gelato Messina team. “Each elements comes together to (hopefully) make something look, and taste beautiful. At Messina we love experimenting with new shapes, colours and textures to create something special.”

Just take a look at what happens when you cut into this gelato design delicacy in the video below.

Available via special order from Gelato Messina’s website and can be picked up from select stores in NSW (Rosebery, Miranda and Parramatta), Victoria (Fitzroy) and Queensland (Coolangatta).

More at Gelato Messina

Video: Christmas with One Two Tree

This is such a nice design story. Lucy and Ant McNamara were looking for a sustainable, Australian option for a Christmas tree when they decided to just go ahead and make their own. It was such a success that they created One Two Tree – trees that are not only beautiful, but also eco-friendly and long lasting, making them an excellent alternative to other Christmas tree options. Please enjoy their story in the video below.

One Two Tree with spots
One Two Tree with spots
One Two Tree comes in two sizes: 85cm tall and 150cm tall
One Two Tree comes in two sizes: 85cm tall and 150cm tall
Ant and Lucy McNamara of One Two Tree
Ant and Lucy McNamara of One Two Tree

Top 5: Australia’s love affair with Nordic design

By Penny Craswell

In 1981, a radical new design collective Memphis, headed by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, released its first collection in the “new international style”. Since then, globalisation of brands and products has led to a consistent aesthetic across national boundaries in contemporary design, to the extent that discussion of national design styles has become increasingly irrelevant.

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On the other hand, it is hard to argue with the fact that some countries do design really well (Denmark, Japan, Italy to name just a few) and some not so well (overbearing dark wood furniture and kitchens in some parts of the US or over-the-top glitz in Russia or China, for example). Read more