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Dunedin Architecture on Show in Venice

Dunedin Architecture on Show in Venice

Dunedin, 4 August 2014 – Dunedin firm Architecture Van Brandenburg’s latest project is showcasing both the company’s design strengths and the city’s talents on an international stage.

Architecture Van Brandenburg, in collaboration with the Otago Polytechnic and the Dunedin City Council, is positioning Dunedin as a centre of design, technology and business excellence in Europe and Asia.

The company’s work on the 120,000sq m headquarters of Chinese fashion brand Marisfrolg in Shenzhen, China, is the focus of an exclusive exhibition at the world’s foremost architectural event, the 2014 Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Fifty models of the revolutionary designs for the Marisfrolg project are on show at the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art until 23 November.

The partnership between the Polytechnic and Architecture Van Brandenburg dates back to 2007, when design and innovation staff and students worked on the original proposal for the Marisfrolg design.

Damien van Brandenburg says it’s a huge honour to be invited to exhibit. The exhibition is called Architecture Van Brandenburg Unfurling, a symbolic reference to New Zealand’s silver fern and a reflection on the firm’s design philosophy and processes.

“There’s been great exposure for New Zealand, for Dunedin and the Otago Polytechnic within the exhibition. More than 100 visitors go through the gallery per day and it’s had a positive response from the public,” he says.

"We worked together on the original Marisfrolg proposal using the Otago Polytechnic expertise, including their staff and digital modelling equipment,” recalls his father, Fred van Brandenburg.

“Since then we have employed several of their graduates and have offered a number of internships to their design students,” adds Damien van Brandenburg.

Growing Dunedin Partnership Chair Chris Staynes says the company’s innovative approach and its partnership with the Polytechnic is an example of Dunedin’s ability to be a creative hub. That is a key part of the city’s vision to be one of the world’s great small cities, an aim supported through Dunedin’s Economic Development Strategy.

“The DCC and the Polytechnic are working alongside Architecture Van Brandenburg to raise awareness of Dunedin as a compelling destination and a hub for skills and talent - two important projects in the Strategy,” he says.

The Polytechnic is one of the Strategy’s partners, and, along with the University of Otago, the Otago Southland Employer’s Association, the Otago Chamber of Commerce, Ngāi Tahu and the DCC, has been charged with providing leadership and enabling innovative businesses such as Architecture Van Brandenburg to get established, grow and flourish in Dunedin.

Damien van Brandenburg says, “This Strategy makes it easier to work together to create better opportunities for Dunedin.”

Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive Phil Ker says, “The relationship heralds what is possible with education-industry partnerships. It’s a win for everyone – students, business, New Zealand’s trade with China, Marisfrolg, Dunedin and the Otago Polytechnic.”

Otago Polytechnic design students have helped Architecture Van Brandenburg achieve its goals through Sexy Summer Jobs – Dunedin’s business internship programme.

The significance of this project from an architectural perspective, and the collaboration between Architecture Van Brandenburg, the Polytechnic and the DCC in promoting Dunedin internationally, means the city can confidently describe itself as a centre of design, high technology and business excellence.

Architecture Van Brandenburg Unfurling is on show in Venice until 23 November 2014. It will then be on display in Hong Kong from December 2014.
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