2017 Sydney Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio & best start-up, plus over 40 specialist categories

accelerate transformation, celebrate courage, growing demand for design

Image Credit : Amanda Prior





Project Overview

Complements is a system of 12 modular staircase-shaped chocolates that interlock to form colourful and striking cubes. Each chocolate is delicious on its own, but combines with another to create a flavour pairing greater than the sum of its parts.


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Dari Israelstam
Lucy Datyner
Meghan Armstrong
Plamena Slavcheva
Yula Morgan

Project Brief

We spend our days partnering with clients and suppliers to create projects. At the end of every year, we like to treat these people with a very unique gift. This year the brief we gave ourselves was to create something that delights them and also reflects the complementary, rewarding relationships that we have. These gifts allow us to get stuck into something we can have fun with, show off our creativity to our clients and facilitate promotion of the studio to our current clients and a wider audience. This led us to the concept of Complements.

Project Innovation/Need

As we are designers (not chocolatiers!), Complements are an example of out of the box thinking applied to a new field.

The modular design is a new way to conceptualise chocolate, bringing about the interchange of unexpected and seemingly endless flavours and a unique universally recognisable form. Modularity seemingly pervades every aspect of mainstream design, architecture and visual culture in general these days, so we thought, why not apply this to the medium of chocolate? Add in this layer of interactivity and play and suddenly the idea of a confectionery treat is changed.

Throughout the process we thought about how we could apply our knowledge as designers to chocolate-making – an example of this was using new technology in the way of 3D printing, to create the unique shape from which the chocolates mould was cast.

It’s also not often that you see such a range of colourful and unexpected flavours in chocolate, at least not in most Western countries. Chocolate tends to be visualised and flavoured quite classically, and people like to see classic things taken in a new direction. Instead of looking to chocolate for visual inspiration, we took our lead from unexpected sources like ceramics and resin jewellery.

Design Challenge

The main challenge for us was materials-based, in the form of using chocolate rather than traditional graphic design media.

We've never worked with chocolate or food before, so as a brand, design and digital agency, it was quite a stab in the dark. In using chocolate, we encountered limitations with variables like colour, pattern, texture, and flavour that are normally not the case with most of our projects. Colour matching to chocolate isn't like selecting Pantone to match CMYK – it's a whole other beast!

Working with 3D tangible forms was also a challenge, and we accustomed ourselves to thinking in 3D by using clay to build models and drawing up isometric shapes on the computer.


Our approach was sustainable in that we relied upon local sourcing and suppliers, and worked to reduce our carbon footprint.

Like us, the chocolatier with whom we collaborated with was based in Sydney (Jen, from Bakedown Cakery). It was a small production run, by the one chocolatier.

The 3D printed chocolate shape was printed by a Sydney 3D printing business, and the moulds were hand poured by one mould-maker also in Sydney. We made sure to only create two moulds, which were reused for the entire run of chocolates. Our packaging, which was paper-based with no plastic involved, was made by a NSW based printer.

Regarding distribution, to reduce the carbon footprint of the project, the chocolates were only shipped within Australia. Where we could, we used couriers on foot and bike with our clients based in Sydney.

Some projects can only exist due to new materials, others thrive as the combination of new and traditional materials intersect. We're looking for projects that show a master has furnished brilliance from basic materials. Your project will fall into one of the following markets: Domestic- Domestic Maker projects represent the consumer connecting with a unique piece, be it a tool for home, an artefact or a practical item to assist with a regular home function. Community - Community Maker projects represent the community connecting with your project. It might be an item to create a mood, a learning device to help advance your community or a practical item to assist with a community function. Commercial - Commercial Maker projects find their way into corporate and government environments, sometimes as highly functional low production runs, other times as one off custom items designed specifically for task. Projects that show the maker's skill, courage and design insights will shine here.
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