One of the things I find fascinating about Brunswick St is a series of ugly signs for shops and businesses. More than simple descriptive signs incorporating a business name, these signs are sculptural and incorporate some abstract or visual element that is symbolic of the purpose of the business.
Some, like Flowers Vasette (above), are still representative of the current business in the building, but many others are a tangential reminder of former tenants, like this former framing business (below) that is now a fashion boutique.
What was Sweet Temptations is now Atomica cafe (above).
I thought these signs were the product of a trend now long passed into utter aesthetic misfortune, and so I was flummoxed to see China Bar (above) simply add their name to the old Penang Affair sign on the street. It hardly seems consistent with current branding and design ideas.
In some cases the old sign, such as for Charmaine’s icecream (above) is a sad reminder of a place I loved to visit (for their chilli chocolate icecream). Then it became the wonderful Juanita’s cafe, and it’s now the badly named and presented Ta-Co Choc Shock cafe. Eew. I cannot bring myself to step inside.
The characters on the gate of the Fitzroy Nursery are similar in style to some of the signs (below).
I also find it intriguing that most new businesses don’t make the effort to remove the signs of previous inhabitants of their premises. The sign from Bakers cafe remained on the wall as the premises subsequently housed La Vines, Ka Ka and Freedom Village restaurants (below).
It was only with the arrival of Hooked that the Bakers sign was removed (below).