Behind one of the last 24-hour nightclubs to be found in Prahan, Melbourne, is the cactus-strewn workspace of Duo D Uo. On the inside, the space is a combination of white walls, raw concrete and recycled wood finishings, while outside the building is covered in graffiti and looks more like an abandoned garage than a design studio. That's why they love it, though.
At risk of becoming a greenhouse – thanks to the team's ever-growing collection of cacti – there's a different kind of plant mounted on the studio wall. "I came across this amazing neon cactus on a classic late night eBay hunt," says creative director Cam Diamond (lying down), who founded the studio alongside Nic Hawker (seated).
"It belonged to a neon collector whose wife was making him sell them all – he wasn't very happy about the sale. We were, though! And it will forever give the space a soft green glow."
Over by the green glow there's a fine collection of bottles. "We have a little bar in the studio, which our amazing clients have been helping grow," he continues.
"A bottle of Armand de Brignac [champagne] is just one of the thank you gifts we have received. Special thanks to AGW for that one!"
Should any damage occur after the boys hit the bar, the studio has been experimenting with Kintsugi – the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using a lacquer resin with particles of gold or silver in it.
"What started as a simple 'could we fix a broken white mug' has moved into much more intricate objects. We're particularly proud of a 10cm Mary statue." The team post all of their ceramic experiments directly to their Instagram account.
And there are more ceramics elsewhere, in the form of cats [below]. "They're our studio's spirit animals," smiles Diamond.
"We came across these amazing ceramic cats after a meeting and were instantly drawn to them. They are far from perfect in form, but they make up for it in unique characteristics." And if they get less perfect in form, the duo can always fix them.
Among the ceramics and cacti are of course the studio bookshelves, from which Diamond is particularly fond of the Maximage Formula Guide, created for the Swiss art and design university École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL).
"We bought this from one of our favourite shops, Motto Distribution. No words to describe this. Actually, there are no words, just beautiful Pantone colours."
This article first appeared in Computer Arts issue 231, Self-Promo to Suit You – 100 pages on how to win more design work by playing to the strengths of your personality, and more.
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