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Have Confidence In NZ Design

Tuesday 20 August

International Furniture Leader Encourages NZ Businesses To Have Confidence In NZ Design

Te Papa, Wellington, 20 August - Andrew Cogan, CEO of New York-based international furniture giant Knoll Inc, today told a 150-strong gathering how New Zealand’s Formway Furniture made enough impact with their breakthrough office chair design for Knoll to add it to their prestigious global furniture range and why other New Zealand businesses should have the confidence to take their design-led innovations to the world and do the same.

“New Zealand businesses should be assured that their design stacks up against others in the world and go out and sell it with confidence,“ said Mr Cogan.

“Our experience with Formway and New Zealand design in general is that it takes into account trends in Asia, Europe and North America and synthesises these elements in a unique way that really appeals to a global market.

“Due to the relatively small size of the domestic market, New Zealand design simply has to be internationally oriented. It’s also because of the unique New Zealand attitude and perspective built into the design that it really stands out.”

The Wellington event was held to celebrate the commercial and international success of New Zealand design and to launch Formway’s breakthrough new office chair, called “Life”. It was jointly hosted by Formway Furniture, Industry New Zealand and the newly established Design Industry Taskforce.

Industry New Zealand’s CEO Neil Mackay told the audience that the Government has already recognised the importance of having a design-led economy by establishing the Design Industry Task Force, supported by Industry New Zealand.

“As Knoll have demonstrated here today, design can create a unique profile for New Zealand in the global economy,” he said.
“If we create a market for this uniqueness, then we have a competitive advantage that is sustainable. Formway Furniture’s Life chair design is an example of how this uniqueness can be leveraged to achieve commercial and export success.”
Neil Mackay told the business audience that design is also a key enabler for every other New Zealand industry that competes for ‘attention’ in the cluttered international marketplace.

“Good design and creativity can turn commodities into high value products; innovations into saleable products and services. We have no choice but to build an enterprise culture that cherishes and celebrates creativity and innovation. Excellence in design is central to that.”

At the event, Rick Wells, Managing Director of Formway Furniture also shared the remarkable story of just how they used the innovative design of the Life chair to secure one of this country’s largest ever design licence agreements with Knoll.

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Knoll to manufacture and sell Life in the US and European markets, as they have a history of working with the world’s most respected designers.

“Knoll sells approximately USD$1billion of furniture worldwide with about 8.5% share of the North American market. The exposure and opportunities this will give Formway and New Zealand design are extraordinary and a real achievement for our entire team.”

Knoll’s Andrew Cogan says the response to Life has been huge.

“After already selling in excess of 10,000 Life chairs in the United States, a month before its official launch here in New Zealand, it’s clear that this New Zealand-designed chair will set a new standard in office chairs around the world.”

Life can be seen in Formway Furniture showrooms in Auckland and Wellington from early September.

For more information or further comment please contact:

Katherine Scott, Consultus, 04 917 0364 or 027 475 3522


Debbie Gee, Industry New Zealand, 04 910 4333 or 027 446 5870

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