Find us on Twitter and Pinterest

We’re always trying to find new ways to stay connected with our readers, and in order to keep up we’re now on both Pinterest and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter @brimstreacle or find our latest Tweets in the sidebar of this blog…We’ve just begun with both these social media platforms, but we hope that they are both a humanising and personalizing experience and we’re excited to see what you guys are up to and share what’s going on around here at Brimstones & Treacle with you.

Not wanting to miss the boat we’ve dived into the fastest growing social media network, Pinterest, The site’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” We think it’s a great way to curate and share things we love from sites enabling us to create and manage inspirational theme-based image collections.

We consider it offers a more design-orientated take on image curation that is the perfect way to gather quick ideas when you’re working on a particular project. It is so simple to use and we appreciate that.  By clicking a single button and Pinterest cleverly finds all the pictures on the web page and then all we have to do it click on the picture we like it’s added to your personal board in a few seconds.

Check out our Pinterest Boards…

Follow Me on Pinterest

We are intrigued by the trend towards more visual communication, so we invite you to start following us as we would love to find what interests you, and If you’re on Pinterest, we’d love you repin our images to your boards to spread the inspiration. Stay tuned for more great images to help evoke the essence of Brimstones &Treacle in the months to come!


Why are things the way they are?

Of designed objects we have always questioned;

Why are things the way they are – and, could they be different?

When designing we have always taken an interest in the particular characteristics of objects, centred around methods of manufacture and the ways that things are put together. As collectors of objects, we often value insubstantial things that come to acquire a certain mysterious provenance over time. The collections held in grand cultural establishments come to be celebrated in society as symbolic references and indicators of our culture, but we would argue that it is ephemera that truly indicates our collective lives and speak of our times. Our interest in celebrating things that may initially appear banal and mundane, lies in the power of these everyday objects and the importance of design in manipulating and changing our perceptions.



We have a particular interest for objects without an author, those anonymously conceived objects of both the distant and more recent past we appreciate for their powerful enigmatic appeal as a ‘thing’ and also how useful it is. Anonymous artefacts of the distant past are often ‘anonymous’ purely because the personality of the craftsperson was not commonly attached to the object, as the concept of their labour was not held in high esteem regardless of the craftsmanship of their work. The work of a wheelwright to make a wheel of exceptional quality was still just a wheel… Continue reading

Looking differently at the world of objects

In our own home we have taken the opportunity to handpick through a process of careful selection, a number of pieces of woodgrain teak effect furniture we believe are engaging for their pure functionality, their fitness for purpose and we do this in the certainty that we think that they will come back into fashion.  What is intriguing about this furniture that was so ubiquitous in the homes of the 1950/60’s is the way that they seem to have evolved rather than having been designed, perhaps this is a true example of ‘form follows function’ that was upheld by the modernists. This got us to thinking about the importance of celebrating what we have to hand but somehow have failed to notice, by taking these everyday object and shifting it in to a new context and purpose within the domestic environment. Continue reading

Pleasingly Pointless


We find irresistible the drawings of eccentric machines by cartoonist and illustrator W.Heath Robinson, (1872 –1944), that have become part of common parlance for unnecessarily complex and implausible contraptions. We often use the phrase ‘Heath Robinson’ in relation to any of our temporary fixes using our ingenuity and whatever is to hand, – often string and tape, or unlikely cannibalisations. Continue reading

Ultimate Collapsible; RAPIDO

If you carry an umbrella, have Venetian blinds on your windows or have ever sat in a deck chair, you’ve experienced the category of objects that are Collapsibles. I am an avid collector of these collapsible objects and I celebrate their genius spacesaving designs, both past and present, that are foldable, expandable, retractable, inflatable, and stackable. The ingenuity of man-made collapsibles inspires creativity, and their brilliance lies in the application of a significant design principle used in our daily life; the economy of space and the economy of transportation. In my opinion the ultimate collapsible in this respect is the wonderful and delightful Rapido… Continue reading

Thinking through Making


At Brimstones & Treacle, we take time to look at materials, processes and technologies to understand why and how they are harnessed in particular ways by designers, but more importantly to understand the values that we place on them, not only in their visual and tactile properties but also the cultural associations they hold. An icon of this approach is the theoretician Enzo Mari who came to design via the world of art as a fervent critic of Consumerism. As an ideological contributor to the debates surrounding design for the last fifty years he has become renowned for his mantra, “Good design for everybody at affordable prices’.

Central to Mari’s beliefs is that design, rather than simply being an expression of others values should develop its own ideology. Much of his work can be considered from this viewpoint, as a sort of critical design exercise where understanding is reached through experiment that can be best described as ‘Thinking through Making’. Continue reading

The Utilistic Optimism of Jasper Morrison

We dislike extravagance in design, and for us Jasper Morrison is a key influence as the difference between his work and many contemporary designers is it’s obviousness -and it’s obvious charm. He can be seen as a modernist, as he is scathing about postmodernism, and much of his work owes a debt to the vocabulary of modernism and it’s materials. He is not, though, old fashioned. The modernist faith in design as a vehicle for improving life provides the link to the work of Morrison he describes as Utilistic Optimism. Continue reading

Simple Pleasures of Being Neat Freaks

At Brimstones & Treacle we’ve been thrilled to witness the recent re-awakening of pride taken in neatness. In particular comes to mind one of our favourite blogs, Things Organized Neatly curated by Austin Radcliffe, and additionally the image-sharing service Pinterest that has become frequently visited to fulfil our pleasure in tidiness,  by collecting photos of orderly arranged things on “pinboards” that are themselves neatly organised. Continue reading

Drawing on a recent history of chairs

Viktor 5000 years of chairs


Earlier in the week we found this video featuring the handiwork of Viktor, a large scale wall-drawing image making tool. The machine is an amalgam of digital and mechanical technologies, becoming a collage of tools, all of which were invented for other general and specific uses. Viktor is a robotic chalk-drawing machine created in 2008 by the designers Jürg Lehni and Alex Rich, who share a fascination with the role of technology in design and are intent on exploring this interest through the creation of new tools and machines. Jürg Lehni  states, “I wanted to make new things with new meanings using what I knew already,” he says. “I wanted to bring back the spirit of printing or publishing or design from the past, but using modern technology. My computers became my working tools, my brushes and paint.”

Viktor is conceived as being far from a closed mechanical device – a black box between creative impulse and output – but rather is described as the ‘nuanced interaction between the user and the technologies of communication’. In a recent interview Jürg Lehni explained his perspective on technology. ‘we are all being sold proprietary software 
all the time and being told how to use it in a prescriptive
 way, but it is possible, if we know how, to bend it to our
 own will and to use it in a different way. The capacity of this software is not anticipated by us and it often has poetic potential.’

The exhibit demonstrates this 
‘poetic potential’ by injecting a degree of humanity into the mechanical nature of 
machines. Viktor works by covering an entire blackboard-painted gallery wall reproducing texts and drawings that elaborate on the themes of the show which is derived from talks and workshops.

The video shows Viktor illustrating the lecture “5000 Years of Chairs” by Michael Marriott about the development of the world through advances in chair making technologies spanning five thousand years. The talk was held on the occasion of the exhibition “A Recent History of Writing & Drawing” by Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2008.

Find the Video for Viktor here:

Website for Jürg Lehni:

Posted by Brimstones.