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Design Companies Prove Wellington Capital of NZ De

Media Release
October 8, 2007

Design Companies Prove Wellington Capital of NZ Design

It’s official – Wellington isn’t just the capital of New Zealand but it’s also the capital of New Zealand design, with 25 Wellington design companies scooping up a number of the top prizes at this year’s national BeST Design Awards – New Zealand designs equivalent of the Oscars.

Organised by the Designers Institute of New Zealand, the awards, which celebrate the very best of New Zealand design across the disciplines of product, spatial and graphics, were presented at a glittering black tie event, attended by over 600 people, at Auckland’s Aotea Centre on Friday, October 5.

Wellington design companies Resn Design Studio, Formway Design, Stephenson and Turner and Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, all picked up gold at this year’s awards, with Wellington based Athfield Architects taking home one of the evening’s supreme “Stringer” awards for the design of the New Zealand Memorial in Hyde Park Corner, London.

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The New Zealand Memorial in Hyde Park Corner, which won the prestigious Spatial “Stringer” Award and gold in the Public and Institutional Spaces category, was described by the award judges as a “powerful and provocative memorial that speaks strongly of New Zealand as a nation having its own identity.”

Athfield Architects Design Director John Hardwick-Smith said he was excited to have been involved in shaping a significant installation and creating a “distinctly New Zealand space that kiwis might identify with when away from home.”

Said Mr Hardwick-Smith: “The memorial marks a New Zealand sense of ‘place’ in central London, where New Zealanders and Britons can gather to reflect and (re)discover stories from a collective past – or celebrate together on formal occasions such as ANZAC Day.”

In addition to the gold and “Stringer” wins, Wellington design companies Clemenger BBDO, Designworks, DNA, Xero, Catherine Griffiths, Fabdesign, Kebbell Daish, Inside Ltd, Studio Pacific Architecture and Tennent Brown Architects each received silvers with a total of 28 bronze awards going to design companies from the Capital.

Cathy Veninga, Chief Executive Officer of the Designers Institute of New Zealand said the standard of entries across the three design categories was “phenomenal”, and paid tribute to the immense design talent that we have in New Zealand.

Said Ms Veninga: “This year we received a record 633 entries for the awards - up an impressive 20% from last year - with designers across the three disciplines demonstrating world-class design in terms of creativity, innovation and skill.”

She said the New Zealand design industry was “truly coming of age” and the standard of work being produced by designers was “world leading.”

The BeST Design Awards were established in 1988, and have been held annually since 1996. The awards are considered to be the foremost design awards in the country.

- Ends -

About the Wellington Gold Winners

Wellington based Resn Design Studio won gold in the Interactive Media and Website Design category (Graphics), for their entry The Bridge - Educational CD-ROM for Synapse Learning.

The judges described the design as a “delightful educational tool that was well targeted and brought to life.”

Formway Design took not one but two gold awards in the product design category, for their Met Adapt Meeting Table and Met Adapt Table Range – a truly adaptable range of office furniture which “adapts” to meet a client’s unique office requirements. The Met Adapt Meeting Table took gold in the Sustainable Product award category with the Met Adapt Table Range awarded gold in the Furniture category. Formway Design was also awarded silver in the furniture category for their Free System range of office furniture.

Stephenson and Turner won gold in the Office and Workplace Environment category (spatial) for the design of Les Mills Hutt City.

The judges said of the entry: “A dynamic space, clear planning and design combined with the vibrant use of clear colours. The designers and client are congratulated on a bold solution breathing new life into an existing building and promoting environmentally sustainable design best practice.”

Associate Professor Dorita Hannah of Wellington’s Massey University College of Creative Arts, won gold in the Exhibition/Installation category (spatial) for her entry Aarero Stone - 2 solos in a performance landscape.

The judges said the stage set “supported the art of theatre and performance,” and was “restrained and slick.” Said the judges: “We all wanted to be the next audience.”

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