Archive for July, 2011

5 Beautiful Things – Summer Edition 2011

by Stephen Bell

August 2011

times are a-changing: ziiro watches

With every new phone or gadget that finds its way into our hands, it seems that technology is becoming ever more complex: so much so that we constantly have to relearn how to use it. Throughout this ever-changing stream of change there has been one, trusty constant: the humble wristwatch. Until now.

Ziiro’s handless wristwatches, designed by Robert Dabi, completely reinvent the way we tell the time. The inner circles on the face denote the hour; the outer show the minutes. The design, Dabi claims, all started with the concept of true minimalism: faces without hands or markers. The concept has now grown to incorporate a wide range that includes these new brightly coloured Gravity models. The watches are available from, and cost 110€. If you’re still a little hesitant about this new time-telling technique, trial out the faces using the free iPhone app.


devotion by design: exhibition, london


Walking around a gallery can sometimes be quite a misleading experience. Trailing past row upon row of artworks, it’s easy to be lulled into the belief that art is created purely to be exhibited in a neat picture-frame.

The National Gallery, however, is injecting new enthusiasm into exhibitions with Devotion to Design. Trying to recreate the majesty of being in a cathedral, they’ve taken some of their oldest and most intriguing pieces and returned them to the atmosphere of their original homes: medieval Italian churches. This may be an exhibition about the magnificence of Christian art, but you don’t need to be deeply religious to appreciate the glorious splendour of the works. The intention is to help viewers to grasp the impressive splendour that these works were meant to evoke, ultimately providing a way for even the most frequent visitor to see the pieces in a more beautiful light. We love it as it really captures how excellent design can tell a story, evoke an emotion and, of course, inspire desire and devotion.

Devotion by Design is on every day until 6 October, at the National Gallery, London UK.


striking seeds: seedbom

Made from egg-boxes, recycled paper and handfuls of UK-native seeds, these are ‘seedboms’: the new product innovation hailed as the weapon of choice in ‘the War on Terra’. Originating from Scottish company Kabloom, these pocket-sized projectiles have already had an explosive impact, earning themselves a place on the Scottish Green List. If that didn’t earn them enough sustainability points, they’ve also teamed up with the Guerrilla Gardening movement (featured by CPB in ‘Visual Futures: Optimism in Design 2009′) to bring flashes of floral colour to urban wastelands.

Deploying these ammunitions is a relatively simple process: simply soak in water, throw, and grow! Available from Kabloom online:


beautiful banking: raiffeisen

 At first glance, the bright, futuristic minimalism of Raiffeisen’s new Zurich branch bears greater similarity to a high-end retail experience than a corporate bank. A closer inspection, however, reveals a series of highly innovative corporate features that render the banking experience much more engaging. Rebranding from the inside-out, Raiffeisen have been able to focus on creating a space that emphasises their core ethos: ‘client inspired banking’.

The new interiors, designed by NAU, incorporate features such as 24-hour deposit box access and info-tables (interactive screens for checking everything from market updates to sports scores). A fluid architecture dissolves barriers between client and employees in an altogether inspiring space. Portraits of celebrated past figures within the bank have been immortalised in the digitally cut-out wall portraits, as a nod to both the bank’s heritage and its future-focused outlook.

In brief, this is a design-led rebrand that channels Raiffeisen’s brand identity to create a wholly innovative, customer-engaging and fundamentally beautiful banking experience.


‘outside-in’ garden: the serpentine pavilion

Nestled away in the beauty of Hyde Park, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, Hortus Conclusus, provides a truly reflective and tranquil space. Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, the pavilion focuses on the concept of the walled garden as a hidden inner space.

The hortus conclusus that I dream of is enclosed all around and open to the sky. Every time I imagine a garden in an architectural setting, it turns into a magical place. I think of gardens that I have seen, that I believe I have seen, that I long to see, surrounded by simple walls, columns, arcades or the facades of buildings – sheltered places of great intimacy where I want to stay for a long time.- Peter Zumthor, architect.

The pavilion not only marks Zumthor’s first ever UK installation, but also a collaboration with Piet Oudolf, the Dutch landscape designer famous for his work on the New York Highline Park. Open daily to the public, the space is also being used for Hyde Park’s Park Nights, a series of talks, exhibitions and live performance events.

Open until October, there is still plenty of time to visit this oasis of tranquillity. For events listings, check for details.


For any information on 5 Beautiful Things or to see older posts, please contact us at

Aero’s bubbly Biscuits

by Stephen Bell

Our new design for Aero Biscuit has made it into Stylist’s ‘Style List’.  It seems that snacking is back in fashion! Bring out the biccie tin. 

Jagger’s brief to Warhol showed total creative trust

by Alex Benady


This is the brief

This is the brief


Sir Mick Jagger is 68 today.  He has written many classics during his fifty years as a composer. Satisfaction, Brown Sugar and Start Me Up are just three of hundreds.  Today he is best known for his never ending touring designed to cash on his creative reputation. Younger people watching  his gigs must wonder what all the fuss is about. But they may not be aware that he is also responsible for what is regarded as one of the best creative briefs ever.
In 1971 the Stones were at the height of their creative powers and were finally able to break free of the restrictive contract they had with UK label Decca to take full control of their financial and creative affairs.
They wanted to establish themselves not only as a pop group, but as a serious cultural force with real artistic ambition, so they asked  Andy Warhol to design the cover for Sticky fingers, their ninth studio album but the first on their new label.

The briefing letter (above) is startling,  partly for its amazing formality. Remember  this was a private note from a sex and drug crazed pop star to a pervy voyeuristic  artist who enjoyed watching his mates destroying themselves for his casual titillation.

But the real genius of the letter is the tight-loose guidelines he gives Warhol. He warns him of the dangers of getting too clever clever and then makes it clear that he trusts Warhol enough to do break all the rules if he wants to and do exactly as he pleases. Note that word:  trust. And as for money, Jagger can scarcely conceal his lack of interest. “Please write back saying how much money you would like,” he says.

The result

This the result

Jagger’s trust was repaid with what immediately became one of the most outstanding album covers of all time. It was a close up of a man’s crotch (turns out it was Factory starlet and all round hunk Jo Dallesandro).  The great attraction was that the zipper on the fly was real. (It unzipped to reveal Jo’s  underwear, not Sir Mick’s as many speculated at the time).

Ok some people complained that the zipper scratched their albums, and distributors complained that it made them hard to stack. But the music buying public loved it. Thirty years later that cover is still revered and remembered by rock fans.
The point is that to get something quite exceptional, he was prepared to risk total failure. It’s an attitude quite at odds with the prevailing view today which is that, the cost and consequences of failure are so awful , that only the ordinary, the safe, the mundane  can be permitted.






Creative Britain is not in Reverse. Yet.

by Alex Benady
Viagra female viagra online


The future of British Art schools?

The future of British Art schools?

Tonight at The Institution of Mechanical Engineers luminaries of the UK creative world will debate the proposition: Is Creative Britain in Reverse?

At first glance there is little evidence to support such an idea. Ok the UK did put in its worst showing for decades at Cannes this year. But as we all know awards prove little or nothing.

In contrast Government figures suggest that creative Britain is doing rather well. They confirm that the creative industries are one of the jewels in the crown of UK Plc. At the last count the creative economy employed just over 2.25 million people -over 7 per cent of the work force. It comprised nearly 158,000 businesses and accounted for 6.4 per cent of UK Gross Value Added, producing exports of £16bn. (more…)

This blog is about all the things that inspire us as we make brands beautiful: insights and ideas, points of view, fabulous work, nascent trends - all the things that excite us and help us to see new possibilities for the brands we work on. So please enjoy, add your comments, forward the link, and come back and see us. We’ll be posting regularly.