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OldSchool/New School: A design history of New Zealand

OldSchool/New School: A design history of New Zealand

From pop-up toasters to peerless film production, an exhibition featuring all aspects of Kiwi design is hitting Wellington later this month. 

The exhibition OldSchool/New School, an art and design history of New Zealand, will be on display in the Great Hall of the Museum Building from September 29. It celebrates all aspects of Kiwi design ranging from the practical application of industrial design, to the aesthetic of fashion design and the high-tech properties in communication design. 

The exhibition showcases items central to New Zealand’s identity and its economic and social development dating back to 1886 when Arthur Riley opened the Wellington School of Design, a forerunner institution to the current College of Creative Arts. 

“The underlying ethic of the design school is one in which people are actually making things. The end results are everything from a Zip toaster to a dress to an advertisement, to a film production studio - in the case of Sir Richard Taylor,” said exhibition project coordinator Luit Bieringa. “They are all part of that practical application of art and design to the world, with the positive benefits this brings to our economy and cultural identity.” 

Executive producer of the exhibition, Associate Professor Claire Robinson, describes design as the unsung hero of New Zealand industry and culture. 

“Designers normally just get on with their work and don’t celebrate their amazing achievements. This exhibition gives us an opportunity to showcase some of our most important designers and their successes and in the process demonstrate to the world that there is more to New Zealand than rugby and our clean, green image. We are also incredibly creative and innovative.”

The exhibition concludes on November 5.