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Dyson Product Design Award Announces Finalists

Press release 27 June 2005

Annual Dyson Product Design Award Announces Kiwi Finalists

A multi-functional, stair-climbing wheelchair, a safe and environmentally sound horticultural spray unit, and a design for a hoof stand for horses, are the three finalist entries in the fifth annual New Zealand Dyson Product Design Award.

The winning entry will be announced at a ceremony to be held in Auckland this week, on Wednesday, 29 June, to recognise and reward a new generation of emerging Kiwi designers with product design ideas that best demonstrate innovative and inspiring solutions to everyday problems.

Auckland-based, Unitec design graduate, Rodney Ng has designed ‘Su. Vario’ to protect horticultural workers from becoming exposed to dangerous spray chemicals. Su. Vario is a spray unit which removes the need to pre-mix and measure dangerous chemicals prior to spraying crops.

The unit, which can be transported on the user’s back like a knapsack, is a safer alternative to existing products as the chemicals are mixed during the spraying process, and not before, vastly reducing the amount of contact the user has with hazardous substances. The chemical and spray ratios are more accurate, reducing waste, and preventing soil from being over sprayed and chemically contaminated.

Rodney, a 22 year old designer and draftsperson, is the son of a market gardening family.

“Growing up on the market garden, and working with my family, meant I spent many hours spraying crops. I always felt vulnerable using the sprayers as they require you to handle raw chemicals. It’s also common to see workers from other gardens take their lives into their own hands by doing the job without wearing the necessary safety equipment.

Massey University Bachelor of Design graduate Lydia Smith, age 25, was also named a contender for the Award with her entry ‘Mobi’, a powered wheelchair designed to allow the disabled to perform increased mobility tasks.

In the current market there are a number of different powered wheelchairs available, each designed to perform a task well. There are 4 x 4 wheelchairs, those that allow the user to adjust to table heights, stand up, recline or climb stairs – Mobi is the first design to offer all of these functions.

“A member of my family is a Wheelie and I could see the limitations the existing wheelchair design imposes. The Mobi model has been created to test how we can overcome these limitations and I hope, long term, it can become the Swiss Army Knife of wheelchairs and to ultimately satisfy a greater number of user needs,” says Nelson based Lydia.

Fellow Massey University design graduate, Rhys Hunt, of Tauranga, invented ‘Atlas’ to allow the work of a farrier, a person who shoes horses, to be more comfortable, and less cumbersome.

Currently a farrier is required to raise a horse’s hoof and hold it between their legs in order for the hoof to be worked on. The weight of the horse rests upon the farrier, a major area of discomfort for them. The Atlas is a device which holds the hoof in an elevated, and stable position, while the farrier goes about their work of fitting a horseshoe on the animal.

Of the motivation for his design, Rhys says “With a farrier in my family, I have seen how interesting the horse shoeing process can be. It is a time proven technique and has remained almost unchanged over many years.

“While the shoeing process hasn’t changed, it’s no longer necessary for the farrier to bear the horse’s weight on their body and this removes the discomfort, allowing them to concentrate on the quality of their shoeing. My design will allow them a better quality of life and pride in their work,” says the 23 year old.

The Dyson Product Design Award is open to final year tertiary students studying in the areas of design, technology or engineering, and to graduates in these areas who are in their first five years of work force.

The 2005 award winner will be named a British Council New Zealand Design Ambassador and will travel to the UK with $3,000 travelling expenses where they’ll have the opportunity to meet with James Dyson, inventor of the Dyson, and other key members of the UK design community. Plus they’ll receive a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a year’s membership to the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand, a digital camera, and an invitation to join the D&AD Talentpool – an online database of international design talent.

The winner will also have the opportunity to compete against other emerging product designers from around the world for Dyson’s global design award. This will be won by the best of the best, from other Dyson awards at national level. The winner of Dyson’s global award will receive a $15,000 cash prize package which also includes interaction with Dyson’s senior engineers from their Research and Development team based in the UK.

Bina Klose, the Award’s head judge, said all finalists reflected the Award criteria and the Dyson philosophy – demonstrating a commitment to intelligent, design thinking.

“When assessing each entry we asked whether each new product solves a problem. Then we asked whether it goes beyond this to show innovative thinking,” says Bina.

The Dyson Award was set up in 2001 by Avery Robinson, the distributors of Dyson in New Zealand, and in association with the British Council New Zealand Design Ambassador Programme, the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) and PRODESIGN, to recognise and reward up and coming Kiwi designers with product design ideas that best demonstrate innovative and inspiring solutions to everyday problems.

Says James Dyson: “For me the best designs are the result of someone questioning everything around them – looking at the same things as everyone else but thinking something different. Good design is about how something works, not just how it looks – you can easily fall out of love with something that doesn’t work properly – but you stay in love with something that performs and works properly.” -ends- ABOUT THE JUDGES Bina Klose (Head Judge) – Shape Design, DINZ Council, Design Taskforce Bina Klose is working as a brand and packaging consultant. Bina completed a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Germany and has been in New Zealand since 1991.
A product representative for the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ), she is also a member of the government initiated Design Taskforce. Bina was instrumental in helping to initiate the Design in Business Awards.

John Cunningham – Director, Ignition Partner John Cunningham set up Ignition Partner in 2002 to help companies and inventors develop and commercialise new products and businesses. The company works to realise innovation in companies and growth through export.

Carin Wilson – Principal, Studio Pacifika Design Carin Wilson, of Maori (Ngati Awa) and Italian descent, draws heavily on both cultural heritages for inspiration in his artwork, sculpture and furniture design. Carin’s significant projects include designing for the new studios of Maori Television, and work overseen at the Wellington Public Library, Auckland City Gallery, Dowse Art Gallery, Ryder Salon and the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo.


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