Simply the best: the supreme winners of the 21st Best Design Awards

The 2019 Best Awards was held at the Spark Arena on Friday night celebrating the crème de la crème of the design industry. It recognised designers, young and old, for their craft across a range of categories, from graphic to moving image to product design. Most who attended were in agreement that the night was a blast, and resembled the maturing success of the design industry in Aotearoa. Here is a breakdown of the supreme winners.

The awards were framed into nine categories: Graphic, Interactive, Moving Image, Product, Public Good Award, Spatial, User Experience Award, Ngā Aho Award, which showcases multi-cultural design collaboration, and the Value of Design Award.

The prized Black pins, the institutes highest honour, were presented to three very different yet equally pioneering contributions to the industry. These were awarded to, Annie Dow, Clive Fugill and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. 

Black Pins

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Notably, for the first time, an organisation – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare – was recognised at the highest level for delivering value to design.  

The decision to award a Value of Design Black Pin reflects the contribution design makes to our country’s economy, says DINZ chief executive, Cathy Veninga.

“Design contributes to a resilient, thriving economy – a contribution we calculated in 2017 at over $10 billion annually. Recognising and celebrating our design champions is important so that we don’t take this contribution for granted.”

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was chosen for the inaugural Value of Design Black Pin from a shortlist of organisations that had previously been recognised in the ‘Best Effect’ category, including Goodnature, Rinnai, BNZ, Barkers, Les Mills and TVNZ.

Judge Noel Blackwell says that collectively all seven demonstrate the characteristics that make organisations who deploy design holistically so successful.

“Understanding how people, especially customers and users, think and feel, whether it’s about fire or fitness, clothing or conservation, is at the core of these organisations’ design intent.”

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare get really close to their users, for example watching them sleep at their sleep labs to understand how to make the sleep apnoea masks more comfortable and effective.

“This characterises their focus and motivation to help patients; it’s very easy to see how invested they are in design outcome – literally saving lives. It is this drive and design intent that has seen their global customer base grow to over 14 million,” says Noel.

“Theirs is a story of New Zealand success on the world stage, and the heart of this success is a commitment to care by design.”

Annie Dow

In awarding the DINZ Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement to Annie Dow, Cathy Veninga says it is an honour to turn the tables and give something back to someone who has given so much to the design industry over the last 25 years.

“Annie’s tenacity, her passion for design, her smarts and her generosity have not only enabled her to grow her own business, but provided opportunities for generations of New Zealand designers to grow their own talents. At 25 years young, Dow Goodfolk is a highly awarded studio, a highly regarded strategic business and a highly respected ‘proving ground’ for many, many committed designers.”

“Annie is a survivor who’s fought hard for the respect she has as a business woman, and is valued by our industry as a strong advocate for design generally, and also for women in design – notably by walking the talk as an employer and also hosting her inspiring Ladies Nights,” says Cathy.

“Tonight we will honour one of our own who has advocated and educated on our behalves and reminds us that ‘we’re worth it!’”

Clive Fugill

Clive Fugill has devoted over half a century of service to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Craft Institute; the last 36 of these as Tumu Whakarae, or Master Carver. One of the first seven successful applicants accepted to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute’s carver training course in 1967, Clive credits his longevity to the teaching of his own teacher.

“I’ve stayed on with the Institute over the years only because our master, John Taiapa, who was the first master of the school, said to us that you’ve come here to learn the art and to pass it on. And that’s what’s kept me inspired to do what I do.”

Clive has worked on over 12 meeting houses, supervising the carving on at least six. He has travelled to Japan, New Guinea, Hawaii, Nova Scotia, the United States and Thailand demonstrating his art and has completed carvings for Royalty and Heads of State and for many embassies around the world.

Cathy Veninga says that given the strong sense of place that emanates from this year’s finalist work, it is entirely fitting that the Institute should be awarding the John Britten Black Pin for the first time for outstanding leadership, vision and achievement to a Māori artist.

“As Te Puia’s Master Carver since 1983, Clive has not only taken Māori art to the world, but embraced the responsibility of ensuring that the skills, knowledge and tikanga of Māori design are not lost here at home,” says Cathy.

“He is an inspiration not only for carvers, but for all designers who seek to retain the kaupapa of design as they employ new technology to work across a variety of new media. And it is the privilege of our Institute to honour Clive tonight with the John Britten Black Pin.”

Purple Pins

Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Patrick Loo and Sarosha Mulla – Rainbow Machine 

The Purple pin for Exhibition and Temporary Structures was awarded to Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Patrick Loo and Sarosha Mulla for Rainbow Machine, a bright yellow machine that faced the sun and made rainbows, all without needing a single raindrop.

Last summer it adorned Silo Park, delighting young children, and sometimes adults too, who were playing outside in the community. Each spring and summer the Rainbow Machine will re-locate to a different part of the city, enabling rainbow-making to happen whenever the sun is shining. 

The machine is a feat of engineering, art and design, the structure uses eight custom-made lenses to refract light and is encased in an aesthetic shell that houses complex moving parts.

The judges commented: “A celebration of public realm, an installation whose form and colour invites us in from a distance and inspires us to partake in the joy of nature. A clever intervention that transforms its environment, and vice versa. Makes you think about how much the city needs more fun stuff for people of all ages.”

Read more about it here

Designworks – Tiaki – Care for New Zealand 

The Purple pin for Public Good was awarded to Designworks for its campaign Tiaki – Care for New Zealand. The initiative invites visitors into our country to subscribe to the Tiaki Promise, a set of guiding principles for tourists to preserve and protect our land. 

To create the Tiaki Promise, Designworks collaborated with seven private and public sector organisations: Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Local Government New Zealand, New Zealand Māori Tourism and Tourism Holdings Ltd.

Tiaki – Care for New Zealand from Designworks on Vimeo.

The campaign touches key destinations across the country, from the airport gateways of Auckland, Queenstown and Christchurch to DOC sites across the country. The kaupapa is also framed in the beehive, a reminder to our governing bodies to care for our environment and cultural heritage. 

The judges commented: “We felt that this project tackles a big problem in a big way— using the power of coalition and harnessing gorgeous design to create a platform for long-term change. The effort to align commercial, local government, central government to make change at scale should not be underestimated, and we believe that this cross-sector collaboration should be celebrated.”

Designworks – Pepeha  

The Purple pin for Ngā Aho was awarded to Designworks for Pepeha. Put simply, Designworks beautifully promotes the use of Te Reo Māori. The not-for-profit, Pepeha, takes traditional Māori introduction to produce personalised prints of each person’s pepeha – or a summary of who they are, who their family is and what part of New Zealand they come from.

The way the process works acts as both an educational experience, and a way to create a decorative piece that can be hung on the wall of work or home. Via the Pepeha site, users can develop their own personalised introduction by entering their name and selecting where they are from geographically, as well as which mountain and body of water is closest to them.

A print is then produced with both the Te Reo Māori and English versions of a Pepeha, which can be downloaded for free as an image or printed and framed as a more permanent artwork.

Last year Designworks design director, Anzac Tasker, told Idealog: “The concept and meaning behind a Pepeha is so beautiful and unique to both the individual delivering it and to New Zealand’s cultural identity,” Tasker says. “We wanted to pay tribute to its strength and significance by giving people the opportunity to share it in a well-crafted and considered way with the power of design.”

All funds made from the prints sold will go straight back into the not-for-profit initiative and towards funding further projects to help Te Reo Māori thrive, such as taking the prints into schools.

The judges commented: “Ma ngā pepeha ka mārama he iwi mātou o tātou tīpuna, o tātou whenua. Through pepeha we understand we are people of our ancestors and of our land. Pepeha are a way of introducing yourself by expressing your ancestral and personal connections to mountains, rivers, oceans, villages and people – expressing both where you come from, and who you come from. Pepeha recognise we are all tangata whenua somewhere, we all have ancestral connections to places and people that define who we are, and how we connect. This highly crafted and well considered project makes pepeha accessible to all and in doing so, enhances our sense of identity as citizens of Aotearoa. This project speaks directly to our Aotearoaness and presents it in a beautiful way every New Zealander can engage with. The judges like the inclusive way ‘pepeha’ engages people in use of te reo Māori, not just as a set of words, but in a personally meaningful way that can be translated into beautifully crafted personal or family artefacts.”

Read more about it here

Woolkin – Brave Dave – The Fire Engine 

A Purple pin for the Consumer category was awarded to The Fire Engine by Woolkin. 

Woolkin makes toys and other products for children made from Naturesclip, a specially-formulated and flexible type of soft-but-strong wool. It’s red fire truck, Brave Dave, is made from entirely healthy, renewable materials. 

Last year designers, its co-founder Luke Morreau told Idealog in the elevator pitch series, “We wanted to develop products that were more in line with our own design, environmental and ethical values and coming from a country with a rich wool story and our own material knowledge of it sparked the beginnings of Woolkin,”. 

The judges comments stated: “The warm glow of success emanated from Brave Dave’s cuddly red surfaces and seriously green credentials. A highly original interpretation of a children’s classic stole the judges’ hearts and impressed with its affective design, characterful presence and potential to spawn future brothers and sisters.”

Read more about it here

Seachange, Supertrash – Turning trash around

The purple pin for Small Brand Identity was awarded to Seachange for Supertrash – Turning trash around. 

The bold branding by Seachange Studio was designed for Supertrash, a small family run collection service with the purpose of reducing our planet’s landfill through circular solutions.

Seachange Studio managed to position Supertrash as the new-school, innovative, energetic and youthful player, who truly embrace the idea of a circular economy, according to Design Assembly.

Judge’s comments: “We are Supertrash, a small, family-run collection service with a big purpose; to help reduce our planet’s landfill through circular solutions. This statement says it all and a lot of companies say they want to be brave, different and standout but Supertrash actually mean it and have done it! This is such a great example of a brave client and a brave design team taking a simple idea and truly changing the game in a tough category that really hasn’t changed over 50years or more. Creating a brand that is this clever, different and simple is really hard. The term “less is more” is delivered here in more ways than one, a refreshing antidote to a world of complexity, overindulgence and waste. Absolutely brilliant!”

Buck Design – Power to Pro: 

The Purple pin for Short Form was awarded to Power to Pro designed by Buck for Apple

The campaign features a strong piece of animation using varied styles and imagery. It encapsulates the message of ‘Power to Pro’ with experimentation and flair.  

Apple – Buck Artist Film from Buck on Vimeo.

Judge’s comments: With so much to love and enjoy across such a wide range of styles it was hard to go past this project for the Purple Pin. Woven expertly into cohesive piece of animation that really expresses the idea of ‘Power to the Pro’ – it is a real feast for the eyes.

Resn, Colenso BBDO – Stop the Spread

The Purple pin for Interactive Marketing was awarded to Resn and Colenso BBDO for Stop the Spread. 

The effects of breast cancer can spread through the wider community much like a disease. Resn designed a digital experience for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that could be shared over social media, reminding people that a mammogram gives a better chance of survival.

The experience uses the visual metaphor of cell division to show how the effects can spread from person to person, paired with audio clips of interviews with families affected by breast cancer. The campaign reached 79 percent of the Population, leading to more women booking a mammogram than ever before during October Awareness Month.

Judge’s comments: “This project leveraged audio, often overlooked on the web, combined with a clever visual metaphor to deliver a powerful storytelling experience that could save lives.”

Sharesies by Sharesies

The Purple pin for the Empowering category was awarded to Sharesies by Sharesies. 

Sharesies is a contemporary example of empowering people through design, breaking down the barriers to investment through language, technology and iterative design.

With a purpose of creating the most financially empowered generation, Sharesies not only developed the platform for investment transactions, but built confidence and motivation through educational content and events. Surveys and behavioural data analysis have allowed the platform to be adapted to encourage more and more New Zealanders to understand and participate in investment to secure their financial future.

Judges comments: “This is a very human experience that empowers Kiwis from all walks of life who may never have invested or seen themselves being able to invest before. By simplifying and humanising the investing experience, and lowering the barriers to entry financially, Sharesies have managed to empower a new generation of investors to get going and ‘do it themselves’.”

This story was originally published on Idealog.

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