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Design in Finland: Lessons for New Zealand


Design has transformed the economy of Finland with companies such as Nokia becoming leaders in producing innovative new products keenly sought by people throughout the world.

Now that experience is to be placed under the microscope at a high-powered international forum at Victoria University on June 14 and a major exhibition, Finnish Design 125, at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

The forum, jointly organised by the Dowse and Victoria's School of Design with the support of Industry New Zealand, will be held at the University's Vivian St campus, home of the Schools of Architecture and Design. The forum will be opened by the Minister of Economic Development, the Hon Jim Anderton, and will feature presentations by leading design and industry representatives from Finland, the United States, Britain, and New Zealand.

Professor Simon Fraser, Professor of Industrial Design at Victoria, says the forum aimed to highlight the lessons of Finland's success. "Finland has often been referred to as a country whose economy was transformed by design and so the forum will offer insights into how this has was done and provide a valuable opportunity to discuss the relevance of this experience to New Zealand.

"With the Design Industry Taskforce recently publishing its report Success by Design, it is a good time to reflect on the strategies that will ensure the sustained competitiveness and economic success of New Zealand's products and services in global markets."

Forum contributors include: Frank Nuovo, the American designer who masterminded and leads Nokia's multinational design taskforce; British design strategist Roy Fleetwood, whose Office for Design Strategy provides strategic advice on architecture, design and design management and Anne Stenros, Managing Director of The Design Forum Finland.

New Zealand contributors include: Professor Fraser and Professor Clarence Aasen, Head of Victoria's School of Design; Phil Capper, Founder of Web Research; Dame Cheryll Sotheran, Director of Creative Industries at Industry New Zealand; Peter Haythornthwaite, Chief Executive of Creativelab Ltd; Jeremy Moon, Managing Director of Icebreaker; Brian Sweeny, Director of Sweeny Vesty Ltd and co-founder of NZ Edge; and Richard Cutfield, Executive Director of Pencarrow Investments.

The exhibition at the Dowse opens to the public on June 14 and runs to August 31. Director Tim Walker says Finland is renowned for its smart and sophisticated design. "This comprehensive exhibition contains original examples of some of the most coveted objects on earth. For 125 years Finnish design has amazed the world. It is vivid, imaginative and innovative."

Mr Walker says when he heard the exhibition was in Australia, the Dowse did everything it could to get it to New Zealand. "We approached Victoria and Industry New Zealand with the idea of organising a forum and found there was a huge level of interest in New Zealand about the Finnish example."

Media are welcome to attend the forum that runs from 9am to 5pm.

For more forum information: Contact Professor Simon Fraser, 04 463 6260

For more forum and exhibition information: Contact Sarah Francis, 04 560 1477

Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
For further information please contact Antony.Paltridge@vuw.ac.nz or phone 04 463 5873 or 029 463 5873

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