Gumboots and .99 among BeST Designs

best designOrthopedic gumboots, an elastic chair, a restaurant up a tree, a sheep drencher inspired by a beer bottle, the world’s safest trampoline and a coat stand shaped like a twig were among some of the most colourful high profile winners at the national 2009 BeST Design Awards.

Organised by the Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ), the awards celebrate the very best of New Zealand design across the disciplines of product, spatial and graphics, and were presented at a glamorous dinner attended by 500 of the country’s top designers at the Auckland Museum last Friday.

This year, an impressive 590 entries were received for the awards, the second highest ever since the awards were established 21 years ago.

For the second year running, Lower Hutt furniture designers, Formway and Ponsonby ideas company, Alt Group, picked up two of the three Stringer awards (the supreme award in each discipline), with the third Stringer going to Auckland’s Fearon Hay Architects.

be 1The Product Stringer was presented to Formway for the Be Chair, a flexible chair that bends and moves with its user thanks to an innovative type of plastic that until now was mainly used in car suspension systems.

WintergardenFearon Hay won the Spatial Design Stringer for the innovative design of the Wintergarden at Auckland’s Northern Club, while Alt Group, who has picked up over 31 international awards this year alone, took home the Graphic Design Stringer for its Selecon brand book, We Make Light.

Selecon_1In addition to their Stringer win, Alt Group retains its title as the most awarded company at the awards, bringing home a total of 25 prizes at this year’s event.

New Zealand’s world-famous type font designer, 75-year-old Samoan-born Joseph Churchward was presented with the John Britten Award, the highest recognition given by DINZ to reward leadership, vision and achievement in the design industry in New Zealand. Joseph Churchward’s hand designed typefaces are seen on optician’s charts around the world and before he retired earlier this year, he had handcrafted more than 600 typefaces – more than any other person in the world – some of which took up to 300 hours to complete.

Other standout winners included:
quatro gumbootChristchurch’s InFact Limited and Skellerup Industries took home silver for the design of the Quatro Gumboot – New Zealand’s first high-performance agribusiness gumboot.

Quatro features an orthopaedic innersole, an antibacterial insulated lining, a shock absorbing inner foot bed, an elasticised soft rim to prevent debris falling inside the boot, and drafted cleats on the outer sole – inspired by a tractor tyre and designed to release mud.
queeniesSituated on a snug corner site in Auckland’s Freemans Bay, Queenies Lunchroom was awarded a hospitality design gold.

The interior of Queenies, designed by Paul Brown of Clark Brown Architects, is built around several collected pieces, such as an antique marble butcher’s table, Coca-cola boxes and deer antler chandeliers, which are complimented by a green custom-built vinyl and marble counter, a painted checkerboard floor, zinc-topped table and a huge paint-by-numbers mural.

The judges of the awards described Queenies as a “fantastical space that takes Kiwiana to the next level”.

chch bus exchangeChristchurch Bus Exchange Transit Lounge, which opened in February, is housed in a converted retail space and was designed to ease footpath congestion. Featuring brightly coloured heated concrete seats and saturated with light thanks to expansive light walls, the judges praised the design of the lounge saying the designers had “powerfully transformed what was a tough environment into a bold yet calming space”.

99Retail advertising agency, .99, was awarded gold in the workplace category.

Designed by Richard Naish of RTA studio, the brief was to transform an old warehouse in Grey Lynn into a “non wanky” office, and one that reflected the type of work that the agency is involved in – retail advertising.

Everyday retail materials are used throughout the office – the reception desk is built from a burnished steel plate, with a large undulating wall created from stacked cardboard.

The “street” or hall of the office, with its recycled rubberwood floor tiles, splits enclosed meeting spaces from the open plan studio floors through the use of cold-store rubber strips. Plastic strips, hung in a circle, also form “pods” which are used for creative brainstorming and informal meetings.

For all the winners and pics visit www.bestawards.co.nz.

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