Review: Eat Burger interiors by Amber Road

By Penny Craswell

Cronulla’s latest destination is a casual burger bar that nevertheless boasts a sophisticated interior with bespoke detailing by Sydney interior design and landscape studio Amber Road. Eat Burger is the latest venture of chef Paul Camilleri who wanted to veer from previous highbrow dining and create a causal venue serving a sophisticated burger.

The bar at Eat Burger, design by Amber Road. Photo: Cole Bennetts

The space, serving 40+ clients within 120sqm,  is a masterful combination of white and pastel elements, including a sandy colour used for the formed concrete bar and bar stools with pink cork seats and grey concrete bases. Read more

Five of the best design installations at London Design Festival

By Penny Craswell

As a fan of multi-disciplinary design as well as experimental projects, I was pleased to see so many design installations at this year’s London Design Festival. I have already covered three of the best installations in this blog: Heartbeat, an installation of 100,000 white balloons by French photographer Charles Pétillon, and two Faye Toogood installations (The Cloakroom and The Drawing Room) incorporating fashion, curatorship, making and sculpture. Here are five more and why they are interesting.

1) Curiosity Cloud by Viennese studio Mischer’Traxler at the V&A Museum

Curiosity Cloud by Mischler Traxler. Photo: Penny Craswell
Curiosity Cloud by Mischler Traxler. Photo: Penny Craswell
Curiosity Cloud by Mischler Traxler. Photo: PC
Curiosity Cloud by Mischler Traxler. Photo: PC

You enter an ornate room of the V&A filled with 264 suspended blown-glass bulbs hanging from the ceiling. In each bulb, a small insect hand-made out of transparent foil flutters against the side of the glass when it senses your movement. Katharina Mischer (1982) and Thomas Traxler (1981) met while studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven and started their practice in Vienna in 2009. Curiosity Cloud is part of their ongoing collaboration with champagne brand Perrier-Jouët exploring “small discoveries.” Read more

Infographic: Multi-functional furniture design

The design team at Chicago-based Ghergich & Co (which produces visual content such as this great infographic), has teamed up with CustomMade (which teams customers who want one-of-a-kind creations with makers of those goods) to create an article on multi-functional furniture design. The post is written by J.H. Fearless, a blogger and writer whose work explores the intersection of art, nature and culture.

Multifunction furniture article, graphics by
Multifunction furniture article, graphics by Ghergich & Co.

“When is a chair not a chair? When it’s a bookshelf, or a table, or a wall panel, or a phone charger! The multifunctional furniture renaissance is here, and it brings seemingly endless ways to reimagine not only furniture’s function, but its form as well. Read more

Design and branding: the ethics of colour

By Penny Craswell

What’s the value of a colour? In the world of branding, colour can mean a lot, so much so that companies are able to use it to deceive us. While researching an encyclopedia entry on Deception in Advertising (which I am co-writing with my partner Chris Falzon for the Sage Encyclopedia of Advertising and Society), we found many of examples of unethical advertising, which led me to question the use of colour in branding, packaging and logos. I found that the simple use of a colour was enough to convey a message, and that this message can be used to deceive us.

From We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion. Via
From We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion. Via

The two main examples of this are: greenwash and gendered advertising. BP is famous for its greenwashing, so much so that it was awarded Greenpeace’s Emerald Paintbrush award for greenwashing in 2008. In 2000, BP changed its name from British Petroleum to beyond petroleum, using the colour green in combination with a flower-shaped logo to create the impression it is environmentally aware, despite its terrible track record in environmental management (including oil spills, toxic waste and more, details here). As much as the name change, the flower and other aspects of the rebranding were important, the simple use of the colour green says so much about this brand. It’s not the only brand to use green in this way. For graphic designers who want to be ethical, check out Green Graphic Design by Brian Dougherty. Read more

Design writings: Nick Finney on timeless designs

Design writings: Nick Finney on timeless designs

“So how are timeless things created? I’ve always believed that simplicity is the key to good design. To endure, to ‘stand the test of time’ a design has to appear simple. And to achieve this simplicity the designer needs time at their disposal: time to think, time to experiment, time to reduce, reappraise and refine. Good design requires hours, days, months.

“It’s a contradiction. Effortless design requires effort. Graceful design takes blood, sweat and tears.


“Another contradiction: Let’s not forget that when the objects and logos I describe above were created they were not meant to be ‘timeless’. They were created as modern, cutting edge, a vision of the future. They were in many cases original, bold and daring, they were ‘against the grain’.”

Nick Finney, founder and creative director of NB Studio, a graphic design agency in London, has written an interesting piece on what makes timeless designs, using examples such as the Arco light and the E-Type Jaguar.

Published on Design Indaba

Bruno Munari’s children’s book Circus in the Mist

A couple of years ago, I contributed a number of texts to the Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design which was my first book contribution and an amazing experience. The Phaidon editors selected every example they commissioned from me – from infographics, to fonts, to magazine covers – and as a result, I learnt so much about graphic design. Even though 26 of my entries were published, for some reason, a few stories I wrote on children’s books and toys were not published – they must have decided to leave these out. So, since it is just sitting there, here is one of the stories I wrote, on a beautiful book by Italian designer and artist Bruno Munari.

Circus in the Mist by Bruno Munari. Image via LOG
Circus in the Mist by Bruno Munari. Image via LOG.


Circus in the Mist – or Nella Nebbia di Milano – was created by Italian designer and artist Bruno Munari in 1968. With black illustrations printed on transparent paper, this is not just a children’s book, but an object of play. Read more

Video: Designer Donna Wilson makes a tartan

Not exactly design writing this time, more design video-making, by Aberdeenshire Council in Scotland on how designer Donna Wilson teamed up with primary schools in the area to make a new tartan.

I love how they chose the colours based on seas, forests, whiskey, a sweet shop and barley (and the suggestion from one of the kids that they choose a colour inspired by fish and chips).

Thanks to Heidi Dokulil and Space Furniture for publishing the video in More Space.

Design writings: Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Typewriter

“Typewriter art is almost as old as typewriters and the first typewriter artists tended to be pictorially inclined typists or stenographers, as they were the people operating the machines. An image of a butterfly made in 1898 by Flora F.F. Stacey, an English woman, was held to be the earliest dated typewriter picture, but the craze is now thought to go back to the 1870s.”

In an era of smart phones and laptops, the typwriter has a tactile authenticity about it, as well as the romance of nostalgia. Graphic design critic Rick Poynor investigates typewriter art and its links to concrete poetry in this article for the Design Observer.

Read the article here.