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Dyson Product Design Award Celebrates Kiwi Talent

29 June 2005

Annual Dyson Product Design Award Celebrates Kiwi Design Talent

Rodney Ng (22), of Auckland designed Su. Vario

'Su. Vario' an innovative tool designed to protect horticultural workers from becoming exposed to dangerous spray chemicals, has tonight won the fifth annual Dyson Product Design Award at an award ceremony held in Auckland.

Unitec Bachelor of Design graduate, Rodney Ng (22), of Auckland designed Su. Vario - a spray unit worn as a backpack, and which removes the need for horticulturalists to pre-mix and measure dangerous chemicals prior to spraying crops.

The unit 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.

Open to final year design and engineering students and recent graduates, the Dyson Product Design Award recognises emerging designers whose work demonstrates the ability to think differently and create products that solve problems and work better than existing products.

The judges, headed by designer Bina Klose, product representative for the Designer's Institute of New Zealand, said that Rodney's product reflected the Award criteria and the Dyson philosophy, which is simply, about making products work better.

"When assessing each product we looked for entries that investigated fundamental problems in existing products to find a better solution. We also asked whether the consumer has a need for, or wants the new product. Then we questioned whether it goes beyond this to show innovative thinking.

"The winning entry scored highly on innovation and problem solving. While the concept seems a simple idea, the designer developed an intelligent solution that provides both improved safety for the user, and encourages greater environmental responsibility," says Bina.

The two runner up winners, both Massey University Bachelor of Design graduates, were Lydia Smith of Nelson, for her entry 'Mobi', a multifunctional wheelchair designed to allow the disabled to perform increased mobility tasks, and Tauranga's Rhys Hunt, who invented a horse's hoof stand called 'Atlas' to allow the work of a farrier, a person who shoes horses, to be more comfortable, and less cumbersome.

Rodney, who tonight was also named a British Council New Zealand Design Ambassador, will travel to the UK with $3,000 travelling expenses and 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.

He 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.

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."


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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