Chalk it up to experience

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To "chalk something up" is to attribute it. When we "chalk something up to experience", we’re saying that although it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, we can at least learn from the experience. The phrase originated with the custom of marking bar tabs and scores on a slate in pubs.

Given the pub/bar tab historical reference I thought it an apt title for this blog post (although I suspect the outcome on this one well exceeded the client's expectation).

Ben Johnston is a Toronto based graphic artist commissioned by the Sierra Nevada brewery in Nth Carolina to illustrate their brewing story.

WOW is what I have to say about Ben's work. Chalk art has been trending for a while now and this is one of the best applications I've seen.  3 weeks in the making and approx 160 sq metres, you can find more of  Ben's amazing work at

All images with thanks via  

#podfinds #chalkart #installation #design

Ben Johnston Design VM Food

Learning from Techne

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Melbourne is home to some stand out design firms (and yes, I appreciate there is no news in that statement).  Seemingly every time some clever design fabulousness crosses my desk these days it is the work of  Techne Architects + Interior Design.  I have to admit I am a touch smitten with their residential and retail work in particular.

For me, one of the immediate outcomes of good retail design should be trust. It makes you want to step inside and, once in the door, you immediately feel like the space and staff know its purpose and the service and product is going to be good. It sets the tone for the brand positioning and price point. The space says you can trust your instincts that this is something that will appeal to who you are as a person. First impression tells me Beauty EDU is a modern beauty bar / spa / salon.  It is, but for those still learning the ropes of the pampering trade!

I don't have much experience with beauty training schools but if I scratch around in my memory vault I recall with great hilarity the worst haircut I have ever seen (many years ago a gal pal, trying to save a few pennies, went and got a cut & colour by a student at a "hairdressing academy" that I hope is no longer in business). I always imagined such establishments to have crap fluorescent lighting, chipped paint on the walls and 'oops missed' blobs of wax stuck in places where it shouldn't be. The sort of establishment where you feel nervous for your eyebrows or toenails before they've let the inexperienced lay a finger on you.

Beauty EDU turns the idea of, what I imagined, a training school looks like completely on its head. Here is how Techne describe it:

"With the concept of offering a new approach to practicing beauty therapy in mind, the aim was to create a retail environment that was simple, clean and unlike anything else on the market. The reception area is the main attraction in the Beauty EDU fitout. This area is the hub of the space, with a large desk for clients to perch at with copper and timber detailing. From the reception space, there are views into treatment, meeting and classroom areas, giving a sense of what is happening behind the scenes. White washed timber and accents of mint are used throughout the space, to tie in with the Beauty EDU brand. The finished result is a space that provides a professional environment and sets the tone of the high standards of the school. And of course a space where the students will enjoy coming to learn."  #techne #beautyedu #gooddesign #podfinds

Images and quote via  

You can find the talented Techne team at L2, 34 Hardware Lane Melbourne. Photography by Tom Blachford

Think Pink

Hostels have gone hip in recent years. La Buena Vida by ARCO Arquitectura Contemporánea in Mexico makes it onto my  mod / fab / fun affordable accommodation list. Pics via ARCO Arquitectura Contemporánea.

Design Mexico

Pop in Palm Springs

Oh to be pool side and soak up the pop pastel palette of The Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs.
Design Saguaro Hotel USA

Bloemen stunning

It's spring time Down Under and the blossom is in bloom ... as are these visually stunning Dutch tulip fields. Pictures via Daily Mail UK.
Design Europe

Sweetly streamlined

The Margaret River Chocolate Company has opened a rather stunning new store in Perth. A heritage space on Murray Street has been transformed by architect Paul Burnham to yeild a slick showcase for all good foodie things from the Margaret River region. Pics via PBA.
Design Food Perth

The word on the street is…

Simple retail story telling - spotted near the corner of High & Chapel Streets Prahran.

Design Food Melbourne

Neon is Now

Geometric patterns are everywhere. In recent weeks I've spotted a super Sportsgirl window on Chapel St South Yarra (top), Chevron & citrus patterned graphics providing strong moments in not-so-new Myer stores around the country (no mean feat to create strong visual change on what I assume is a shoestring budget), whilst Whistles in the UK look to be flying colourful kite like patterns of a similar ilk ... it's pop, visually powerful and what's in play, right here right now.

Design VM

Page turner is a head turner

Artist Geoffrey Farmer created this jaw dropping, 18 metre long, three dimensional collage for the Documenta Art Festival currently playing in Germany. Made up of thousands of photo clippings from LIFE magazine taken between the years 1935 to 1985, each of the small photograph cut-outs feature objects from advertisements and articles ranging from politicians to newsworthy events and people of the time. Visually stunning and no doubt totally fascinating. Via DesignBoom

Design VM Other

Le Nid

Le Nid gets 'le nod' for being 'le too funny'. Spotted on WeHeart's fab blog I am just going to re-post the exact words and pics as they sum it up beautifully.

Dominating the skyline of Nantes, and one of France’s tallest buildings outside Paris, Tour Bretagne is not exactly the prettiest of skyscrapers – but that no longer matters. Not one iota. Because, thanks to London-based French graphic designer Jean Julien it now hosts perhaps one of the greatest sky bars on the whole bloody planet. Le Nid – which towers 144m over the city – centres around a sleepy 40m-long half-stork, half-heron, and its eggs; which form the bar’s stools and tables.

Utterly barmy, utterly brilliant, this is not a space of high-concept – this is Jullien’s bold, playful illustrative style manifested in the real world. The bar is holed up in big bird’s rear, its neck stretching around the entire space, the eyes of his sleepy head open and close, whilst visitors cavort in his strewn eggs – there’s no deep meaning here, there’s no arty pretension; it’s just a ruddy great rubber bird! Commissioned by Le Voyage de Nantes – a major arts initiative for the French city – Le Nid is everything you could wish for in a bar, we egg-spect you won’t want to leave. Via WeHeart


Design VM Food