Urban Island; city stories product series

When Urban Island commissioned our studio Public Works to design a product series that captured some of Sri Lanka’s most iconic cities, we were excited for two reasons; it was a project that combined both our individual expertise in writing and visual art, and it was an opportunity for us to crystallise some of our favourite experiences and places in Sri Lanka. The series was to target both Sri Lankans and travellers. We understood that for travellers, the city stories series should be about taking back a fond memory from their time in Sri Lanka. Our strategy for the Sri Lankans, was to make the series about celebrating a memory about their hometown, or a place they have a connection to in their country.


The challenge for the writer was capture a special story, feeling, icon or an experience about each city, in just a few words; and, because we wanted to make the writing for this project to take the form mini poetry, the challenge also meant there had to be some form of rhythm or rhyme. 

The project was fun to work on, and from what we hear from the Urban Island team, the series is becoming somewhat of a cult favourite among their shoppers.


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The success of the series had Urban Island creating a larger product series going from pillow cases, T shirts and bags, to notebooks, mugs and aprons. The city stories series by Public Works is still going strong at the Urban Island outlets.


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I live in a house, that I've never left. I don't know how many rooms it has. Every day, I open a new door, and in the dark, feel the things inside.

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