Friday Five With Cleo Murnane of Project M Plus

03.20.20 | By
Friday Five With Cleo Murnane of Project M Plus

From real estate and hospitality to restaurants, spirits, fashion, and wellness, Cleo Murnane brings functionality and beauty to every brand she helps build as creative director and co-founder of Project M Plus. Her own entrepreneurial background works to her advantage no doubt, as she translates her clients’ visions into strong brands in an artful way. Project M Plus’ services include everything from core values and business strategy to design identity and interiors.

Murnane is a champion for companies with vision, and has been instrumental in creating strong work for many top brands. Before founding M Plus, she worked for design and advertising agencies from LA to London. Now as a connector and educator, Murnane takes great pride in finding and mentoring new talent, paying forward the support she once received. Today Cleo is joining us for Friday Five!

Photo by Carol Es

1. Cy Twombly Gallery
The Renzo Piano design was actually sketched by Twombly himself. It’s a simple block building with a louvered roof and ceilings of white canvas sailcloth. The light in this space so perfectly illuminates the work, it glows.

Photo courtesy of

2. Antara Retreat
Taos is a magical place. At once deeply rooted to the earth, and aligned with the spirit and soul of our ancestors. My experience at Antara was life-changing! I left my 3-day retreat nourished and connected to myself and my work with intention, compassion, and clarity.

Photo by Cleo Murnane

3. North African Textiles
I was lucky enough to travel to Morroco a couple of years ago and met Cassandra, an Australian who sources the most gorgeous textiles and carpets. You can go to all the shops, there are hundreds, and travel far into the Berber mountains, but the most unique pieces I found were in her Marrakech showroom – Kulchi (meaning ‘everything’ in Arabic). She also can customize pieces and the prices are incredible. I have two of her rugs in my home and have dreamed of creating a custom collection ever since I left.

Photo by Cleo Murnane

4. Bagni d’Arienzo Beach Club
Go to the little dock in Positano and look for the club boat. It’s understated with a flag and if you’re friendly and warm, like they are, they will take you to their private, secluded alcove called Arienzo Beach. Watching my children frolic in the gentle waves while I picked tumbled multi-colored sea glass out of the surf is a day seared onto my memory forever.

Photo by Cleo Murnane

5. Fushimi Inari
The 2-hour path to Fushimi Inari, an 8th-century Shinto shrine on top of Inari mountain in Kyoto, is framed by thousands of bright orange Senbon Torii gates that represent the transition from the mundane to the sacred. The color symbolizes vitality and protection against evil. We walked this path on a rainy day in June, and honestly it was rather treacherous! I was carrying my baby in a front-facing carrier and my two older children were right behind me, my husband led the way. We were exhausted and soaking wet, but no one seemed to complain. It is blessed soil, grounding and majestic.

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.