New Zealand’s BeST designs on show in Tauranga

Aaron Green

There’ll be ‘plenty’ of local designs to see as New Zealand’s best designs from the past year go on show in Tauranga in November.

Island seats and cloud lights; an ingenious “now you see it, now you don’t” stovetop that’s like something straight out of the Jetson’s; a weedwacker that “kicks grass” fast; a harness that holds pigs, and an office furniture system that’s a real “HUM”-dinger, are just a few of the 133 designs that will be on display in Tauranga early next month (November) in the Dulux BeST Design Awards 2008 Exhibition, showcasing the winners and standout finalists of the national BeST Design Awards 2008.

The BeST Design Awards – New Zealand designs equivalent of the Oscars which were held at a glittering black tie event attended by over 620 of the country’s leading creative professionals in Auckland on October 10 – is the annual awards programme presented by the Designers Institute of New Zealand (dinz) to showcase and celebrate the very best New Zealand designs from the past year across the disciplines of graphic, spatial (interior) and product design.

This year, an impressive 558 entries from throughout the country were received for the awards, with the judges noting that the graphic entries (of which there were 441) were of the highest standard seen since the awards were established 20 years ago.

The national touring Dulux BeST Design Awards Exhibition, which typically kicks off in Auckland, will this year launch in Tauranga for the first time, providing Bay of Plenty locals with the opportunity to get an up-close and personal view of New Zealand’s best designs.

This is the second year that the exhibition, which will be held from November 3 – November 8 at Creative Tauranga, has travelled to the city, and the third year that leading New Zealand paint manufacturer Dulux has sponsored the event.

Among the designs on display at the country’s largest touring design exhibition will be award-winning designs by Hawkes Bay designer David Trubridge (who won gold at the awards for his latest design, Spiral Islands – a beautiful seating and lighting arrangement that was inspired by the Islands of the Pacific and which was recently displayed at the 2008 Milan Furniture Fair), and Mount Maunganui based Locus Research’s Littl’ Juey, a brightly coloured lawn trimmer that has recently been picked up by QVC, one of the largest multimedia retailers in the world, for sales through the Home Shopping Channel and Home Depot in the US.

Also on display will be designs by Tauranga based Trimax Mowing Systems, who won bronze at this year’s BeST Design Awards in the non-consumer product design category for their latest mower, the Pegasus S3 Elite.
Cathy Veninga, Chief Executive Officer of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, said that the Bay of Plenty design industry had flourished over the past few year’s, making it the perfect place to kick off the exhibition tour.

“The Bay of Plenty region has a very strong design community and is producing some excellent designs. Bringing the exhibition to Tauranga allows us not only to celebrate and showcase the amazing designs coming out of the region, but also to support local designers and the local design industry.”

Veninga said that over 100 people, including local designers and their clients, attended last year’s graphic, product and interior design showcase, which was held at Fashion Island in Papamoa.

This year the Institute hopes to build on the success of last year’s event by attracting even more visitors to the exhibition.

“This year we hope that more people from the region will take the opportunity to come and see for themselves the amazing variety of world-leading designs being produced both locally and nationally by our designers,” said Veninga, who also said that there was something for everyone at the exhibition.

“Whether you are an expert in design or know very little about it, this exhibition will knock your socks off.”

Veninga said the Institute hoped that people attending this year’s Dulux BeST Design Awards Exhibition would gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the role that design played in their everyday lives.

“People are exposed to design every day, whether they recognise it or not. We want to create a greater awareness and understating about design, to show people that commonplace items that they buy or utilize every day have been designed, while also celebrating the incredible award-winning work of local designers who are creating some truly amazing work.”

Guests at the official opening function (which is open to the public and is being held at 6.00pm on November 3) will also get the chance to listen to some of the country’s leading designers when winners including Dean Poole from Auckland based graphic design agency Alt Group, and product designers from Formway Furniture, for its innovative workplace systems, speak about their award-winning designs as part of the Institute’s Best of the BeST Designers Speak Series.

Alt Group took out 30 awards at this year’s event, including the coveted Graphic Design Stringer – the supreme award given for graphic design. The award was presented to them for their ‘unconventional’ designs for Auckland based law firm Hudson Gavin Martin, which the judges described as an “incredibly brave, focussed piece of branding.”

The Dulux BeST Design Awards Exhibition will be open to the public daily from 9am to 4.30pm.

Entry to the exhibition is free.

After the exhibition has been displayed in Tauranga, it will then travel to Christchurch (November 13-22) and Auckland (December 8-20).

The BeST Design Awards originated in 1988 and have been held annually since 1996.

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New Zealand’s BeST designs on show in Tauranga