From bikes to ovens, rocky airport terminals to typographic art: 2011 Best Awards winners revealed

From bikes to ovens, rocky airport terminals to typographic art: 2011 Best Awards winners revealed

While there'll be a few people holding their heads in despair, it's all on for the winners at tonight's 2011 Best Awards. Over 600 designers attended the DINZ event, held this year at the swanky new Auckland Viaduct Events Centre. This year set a record for entries, with 812 received in total — the highest in the 23-year history of the event. A multitude of Gold, Silver and Bronze pins were handed out, with four winners picking up the most coveted pin of all, the Purple Pin, representing supreme design within each category. 

Purple Pin: Product Design

First up in the Purple Pin arena are the folks currently featured on the front cover of Idealog, Avanti. Auckland-based Avanti Design Technology rode home with this year’s Purple Pin in the Product Design category for the Avanti Project Evo II, a super sleek racing bike that was released to the market last month. 

During development it underwent rigorous frame fatigue testing in wind tunnels in North Carolina and San Diego. Avanti bikes are used by a number of New Zealand top athletes such as Bevan Docherty, Cameron Brown and Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Alison Shanks.

The judges described Avanti’s award-winning bike as “a world-class product demonstrating the highest standards of build, technology and New Zealand design”.

“This amazingly light performance machine demonstrates meticulous attention to detail. The design confidently represents New Zealand in one of the world’s most demanding and exacting sport and recreational arenas.” 

Purple Pin: Spatial Design

In the Spatial Design discipline, this year’s Purple Pin went to the new extension at Wellington International Airport (The Rock) designed by Studio Pacific Architecture in association with Warren and Mahoney. The designers, who also won Gold in Public and Institutional Spaces category fortheir unconventional design, said they had two overriding requirements from their “courageous client,” Wellington International Airport, when designing the terminal addition. It had to “be a memorable experience” and the design had to be “edgy.”

The $39 million extension features an edgy and dramatic design as opposed to the bland arrival and departure halls that typify most international airports. Built to accommodate and process 1000 passengers an hour (instead of the current 500) and to cater for expanded flights to Asia, The Rock was modelled on Wellington’s rugged west coast and takes the form of three rocks clad in 1600 square metres of copper. Inside, the building features macrocarpa panelling and glass fissures which provide warm natural light by day and a glow which can be seen from the air at night.

The judges said the designers had created a unique public space that was “a destination in its own right,” describing the airport extension as “a beautifully executed design that provides travellers with a restful ambience, not usually found in international airports”.

“This is world-class design that puts New Zealand on the map,” said the judges.

Purple Pin: Graphic Design

For the first time ever in the history of the awards, not one but two designs were awarded the coveted Purple Pin for Graphic Design, which were presented to Auckland based Alt Group for their pop-up installation,the Social Kitchen, and to artist Sarah Maxey and typographer, Kris Sowersby for Sentimental Journey.

The Social Kitchen was a pop-up installation at Britomart created in collaboration with chefs Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen of the Engine Room, furniture designer Sam Haughton of IMO and the Fisher & Paykel team for the 2011 Urbis Designday event.

Featuring two kitchen displays within a modified shipping container, a one-off custom table seating 50 people under a 'blow up' cube, and a series of classic New Zealand dishes reinvented, the Social Kitchen was designed to showcase the best in New Zealand appliance design and demonstrate the evolving role of the kitchen as the social hub in Kiwis everyday lives.

Described by the judges as an “artfully coordinated event”, the Social Kitchen project saw Alt Group design everything from wait staff uniforms, to pole based serving platters to a menu, which was presented on t-shirts.

 Sentimental Journey is an interpretation of the Exquisite Corpse game, invented by the Surrealists in the early part of last century, where a collection of words is collectively assembled for the entertainment and amusement of the audience, rather like the old parlour game, Consequences.

In this version poet Kate Camp chose a collection of two word phrases, which she then split, sending half to Sarah and the other half to Kris, who then worked independently using their respective skills in typeface design and hand lettering to design each word. Each revealed their designs and words to the other at the end of the project. The combined designs and words, such as Sentimental Journey, Love Heart, I Do (with the “I” being a drawing of an eye) and Screw You, were made into a limited edition set of 20 postcards, available from the Village Foundry website in New York.

Purple Pin: Interactive Design 

Wellington based Resn scored this year’s Purple Pin for Interactive Design, which was presented to the company for Sponsafier 4.

Developed for Toyota, the virtual racing car application allowed fans to design, photo shoot and challenge their friends as they created custom cup cars for NASCAR Team Toyota drivers. Fans designed their own paint jobs for the cars, uploading their designs to social networking sites in order to win votes, with the design with the most votes being put onto an actual race car and driven in a big race.

Black Pin Winners

Special Black Pins recognising the contribution individuals have made to the New Zealand design industry were also awarded during the night. The first, the prestigious John Britten Black Pin award for an individual who has made a major contribution to design nationally and internationally, went to Mark Elmore (top left), Head of Industrial Design at Fisher & Paykel, who has been at the forefront of taking the company’s designs and products from a purely domestic market to a wider global audience. The Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement went to Fraser Gardyne (bottom left), principal of graphic design company gardyneHOLT and past president and a Fellow of the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

As well as the Purple Pin winners, there were a bunch of Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, together with student-specific accolades  A selection of Gold Pin winners follows below. To check out all the winners, including more student entries, head along to the Best Awards website,

Graphic Gold Pin Winners

Corporate Communications

Camper, by Strategy Design and Advertising

Editorial & Books

Air New Zealand Clothes Hangar Editorial, by Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide 

Martin Bosley, by Strategy Design and Advertising

Environmental Graphics

NZ Wool at Fieldays, by We Love Inc

Share an Idea, by Strategy Design and Advertising

Graphic Design Arts

Sentimental Journey, by Sarah Maxey & Kris Sowersby 

Vodafone- World of Difference, by Watermark Ltd 

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, by The Church

Identity Development (large scale)

Share an Idea, by Strategy Design and Advertising

Identity Development (small scale)

Rotoroa Island Identity, by Studio Alexander 

Mika, by Supply


Saxton, by Supply 

ecostore / Packaging, by Special Group

Self Promotion

Alt XMAS 2010, by Alt Group 

Shine Credentials, by Shine Communications Group Limited

Visual Communication

'Sounds Like Us' Posters, by Clemenger BBDO 

Fisher & Paykel The Social Kitchen, by Alt Group


Traveling Through Inbetween Spaces by Philip Tan, Massey University College of Creative Arts

Unpacking Kiwi Picnics, by Rebecca O'Shea, Massey University College of Creative Arts

Interactive Gold Pin Winners

Large Scale Websites

Warren and Mahoney website, by Alt Group

The New, by Shift

Time Based Graphics

Pams, by Assembly


Circuit, by Shinji Dawson and Yannick Gillian and Felix Telfer, Massey University College of Creative Arts

Product Gold Winners


Designer 90cm Oven, by Fisher & Paykel Appliances

Avanti Project Evo 2, by Avanti Design Technology


Odin Chair, by Jamie McLellan Ltd.

Non-Consumer and Sustainable Product Design

Goodnature Automatic Humane Possum Trap, by Goodnature


Clean Waves, by Michael Grobelny, Auckland University of Technology

Spatial Gold Pin Winners

Built Environment

Hobsonville Point Park, by Isthmus

Exhibition Installation — temporary Structures

EOK: Everything is OK, by  Storybox

FOUR / Duck, by Special Group


Cocoro, by Gascoigne Associates Limited

1885 Britomart, by Cheshire Architects

Britomart Country Club, by Cheshire Architects

Office & Workplace Environments

Air New Zealand Uniform Fitting and Distribution Space, by Air New Zealand Design House

Strategy House, by Strategy Design and Advertising

Public & Institutional Spaces

Wellington International Airport (The Rock), by Studio Pacific Architecture & Warren and Mahoney in Association

Retail Environment

Telecom Victoria Street, by Gascoigne Associates and Designworks

Element Collective, by Prospace Designz Ltd and Hassell Architects

Glassons Flagship Store Broadway Newmarket, by Gascoigne Associates Limited


Manukau Library, by Creative Spaces Ltd


Art in the Dark, by Celia Harrison, Auckland University of technology

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