How do you make award winning furniture design? Take an egg, a guitar pick and mix with a water gourd

How do you make award winning furniture design? Take an egg, a guitar pick and mix with a water gourd

A guitar pick and egg might not have a lot in common, but both formed part of the inspiration behind a winning entry in the inaugural Formica Formations Design Competition, which challenged New Zealand’s professional as well as emerging architects and designers to design a sculptural piece of furniture. 

The ‘Beehive’ was awarded first place in the professional category of the competition. Its creator, architectural designer and owner of Queenstown architectural design firm Structural Integrity, Graham Roebeck, said that after deliberating over several complex designs, he finally settled on the Beehive, aiming for a simple but aesthetically pleasing look. 

“I drew inspiration from a number of objects including a guitar pick, egg and water gourd.” 

The awards limelight was shared by Unitec third year product and furniture design student Norman Lin, who took out the emerging designer section of the competition with his piece titled ‘The Lax Chair.’ 

Representing ocean waves, the piece aims to create a feeling of calmness, relaxation and recovery, and derived some of its inspiration form Maori design. 

“Approaching this design, I knew I wanted to challenge the typical horizontal and vertical use of Formica materials and design something that allowed Formica to branch out and move into curvilinear designs. I began looking at curved objects — eventually drawing inspiration from waves and Maori motifs.” 

Norman said he settled on a design that resembles the way waves weave into each other creating an interesting flow of curves. 

“I decided to place coloured laminate on the inner planes to tempt people to come closer and view the piece from different angles,” he said. “I also used colour to express calmness and relaxation, as I designed this piece for a transient place such as a lobby so that people could just sit down and take a moment out of their busy day.” 

The brief asked for pieces that could be sat, laid, leaned and played upon. Pieces also had to challenge the norms of Formica materials.

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