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Runi’s Mexican roots adds spice to Grad Show

Media Release

25 November 2009

Runi’s Mexican roots adds spice to Unitec Grad Show

Runi Schoenhofer can still recall going on numerous visits to church sites in Mexico with her father as a young girl.

Not because Alejandro Schoenhofer was an overly religious man but because he was well known for designing a number of these churches in Mexico.

His most famous work is hard to ignore – the Basilica of Guadelupe in Mexico City is the biggest church in the country.

“Both my parents were architects so it wasn’t hard to have a passion for architecture and design when you were around them,” says the 23-year-old.

“For myself, I’ve always been interested in how an idea evolves and becomes the physical matter that represents the thoughts of the creator.”

Now Runi has a chance to showcase her own talents as one of hundreds of students from Unitec who will exhibit their work as part of the annual Unitec Grad Show between November 25 and 28.

The show is the biggest event on the calendar for the Departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design and Visual Arts and for the first time this year, the Department of Performing and Screen Arts.

While her parents carved successful careers in architecture, Schoenhofer has decided to go down the design path and is in her final year of a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts (Interior Design) degree.

With her Mexican and Catholic upbringing, Schoenhofer’s designs have a strong religious element to them coupled with the dramatic effects of her love of theatre and symbols.

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“Personally, I believe that since I am the designer or the creator, I portray myself through my work in different ways - constantly showing my way of thinking, my personal taste of aesthetics and my passion for creativity.”

Schoenhofer puts this theory to paper at the Grad Show with one of her exhibition pieces, ‘Espacio Sensorial (Sensory Space)’.

“It’s a look into metaphysical space and touches on all the senses we have, how you can go into one part of the room and feel things, go into another room and smell a new experience.

“In a way, it encompasses my whole journey through the Unitec, it’s the culmination of my work which I feel is a good ending for my degree - representing the climax of my studies and all of my interests coming together.

Schoenhofer believes her time in New Zealand has molded her into an even better designer due to learning a new culture.

She says there are many similarities between the two cultures and is keen to merge the two cultures together in future designs.

Schoenhofer first came to New Zealand five years ago, completing a diploma in architecture in Christchurch before returning home to Mexico.

“When I was back home, I studied architecture but I felt this was being treated and taught as the design of an object rather than a space for people to interact.

“This was what made me decide to look into interior design since I was always interested in the inside rather than the outside of the buildings.

“It’s something I’m glad I decided to do,” says Schoenhofer.


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