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The winners of the 2016 Best Awards

The biggest night of the Australasian design year, the Best Design Awards was organised by the Designers Institute of New Zealand and recognised the strongest work produced in eight categories – spatial, product, graphic, moving image, interactive, best effect, public good and the Nga Aho Award, a category showcasing multi-cultural design collaboration.

Designers Institute CEO, Cathy Veninga said the calibre of entries was as strong as always for the awards, which took place at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre last Friday. “The Best Design Awards celebrate not just the designers but their clients who have used design to achieve better outcomes for their businesses, their products, and the end users,” she said. “Our design studios keep pushing boundaries with their eye for craft, ideas and innovation.”

Without further ado, Idealog takes a look at the winners.


Best Effect Award Purple Pin – A24 automatic trap and lure by Goodnature

Design team: Robert Van Dam, Craig Bond, Stu Barr, Chris Dwan, Hiroshi Tokunaga, Grace Paske, Jadon McConnell.

After eight years of sustained pest control in 500 hectares of Te Urewera Forest, the Department of Conservation (DOC) knew that efforts had to remain constant if native bird numbers were to continue to increase. The main problem was that it was incredibly costly to send people into the bush to keep resetting the traps. To help fix this, design studio Goodnature teamed up with DOC to create the A24 self-resetting trap and Automatic Lure Pump (ALP). Pests are lured into the trap by a long-life bait lure. Once they go inside, a CO2 canister-powered hammer hits the animals, who are then left to be scavenged by birds of prey.

The automatic lure pump is innovative because it is toxin-free (no 1080 in it at all), saves labour, and cuts trapping costs by 90 percent.

Public Good Award Purple Pin – Game of Awesome by Chrometoaster

Design director: Aaron McKirdy, Creative director: Dave Turnbull Contributors: Robert Whittaker, Gavin Mouldey, Morgan Davie.

Game of Awesome is an educational card game designed to inspire years 5 to 8 students to write creative stories and increase their literacy levels. The game presents undefined pieces of a story such as “crisis”, “evil scientist” or “the pyramids”, and then challenges players to choose inventive ideas from their hand of cards, which become the building blocks of stories. Winning the game involves using card combinations in the most entertaining way, by stringing disparate ideas together into a single cohesive story. Published as Creative Commons by the Ministry of Education, the game is distributed free to schools.

Graphics Purple Pin – POP Marble Run by Alt Group

Creative director: Dean Poole. Design team: Dean Murray, Aaron Edwards, Adam Ben-Dror, Clark Bardsley.

An eight-metre-long double-sided steel wall activated through a network of magnetic parts which can be configured to build custom marble runs by each participant, POP Marble Run is part interactive innovation, part piece of art. The wall plays a spectrum of unique sounds through a speaker system built into the wall, with different sounds playing as a marble drops from one section to the next. The end result is a large participatory musical instrument activated by visitors.

Interactive Purple Pin – K?kako Language tracking application by Salted Herring

Design director: Pep Zuijderwijk. Design team: Ryan Shields, Roberto Uribe, Simon Winter.

K?kako is a web application developed to measure the usage of M?ori language across New Zealand radio. An automated system that continuously listens to broadcasts, tracking spoken language use, K?kako eliminates the need for continuous manual listening. Reporting is available in close to real time, allowing broadcasters or stakeholders to follow activity on their networks. K?kako can also be trained to recognise any language or dialect with reporting, customised for specific communities or agencies.

Product Purple Pin – Allbirds Wool Runners by Jamie McLellan Ltd and Tim Brown

Creative directors: Tim Brown, Jamie McLellan. Design team: Joey Zwillinger, Drew Morgan, Michael Jo, Simon Endres, Scott Chapps. Andy Jacobs.

Sheep are about as iconic as, well, anything in Aotearoa. After all, there’s more than six times as many of them as there are people. That’s a lot of wool any way you look at it – and it’s what Allbirds’ shoes are made from. Sustainable, moisture wicking, anti-bacterial and extremely comfortable, the Wool Runner is billed as the “world’s softest shoe.” Wool Runners have found wide success in both North America and New Zealand, and have gained something of a cult following. In the words of the judging panel: “This product is distinctly New Zealand while being truly global.”

Moving image Purple Pin – The Innovator by Buck

Design director: Lucas Brooking. Creative director: Gareth O’Brien.

Design studio Buck was tasked with creating an animated film to remind the audience of wool’s versatility and benefits. This entertaining film, titled The Innovator (after one of the main characters), journeys through the ages showing how wool has been used and continues to clothe our society in everyday life. The story takes the viewer from the Stone Age to the 17th century through to today to witness the innovative uses of wool.

Nga Aho Award Purple Pin – Te Oro by Archimedia

Design director: Lindsay Mackie. Design team: Bernard Makoare, Martin Leung-Wai, Petelo Esekielu, David Thomas, David Fullbrook, Debbie Tikao, Karl Dawe, Russell Pinel, John Pollard.

Te Oro is a creative facility for young people from  the communities of Glen Innes and Panmure in Auckland. It takes its name from the traditional word for the sound created by wind blowing across the open crater of Maungarei. Te Oro emerged from the community itself, supported and funded by Auckland Council. The design process was open and collaborative, involving local artists, cultural advisors, mana whenua, environmental and landscape specialists. The architecture resonates with traditional south-west Pacific buildings, featuring an open space with a crafted superstructure suspended above, supported by timber columns. The 1485-square-metre building has 256 PV panels on the roof, rainwater harvesting, above-code insulation, double glazing, heat pumps, and LED lighting. Translation: it’s both pretty and green.

Spatial Purple Pin – #LightPathAKL by Monk Mackenzie Architects and LandLAB

Design director: Dean Mackenzie. Creative directors: Hamish Monk, Henry Crothers.

#LightPathAKL was initiated when a study identified the potential for an unused former highway off-ramp to be repurposed to form the western route of an inner city cycleway. The former asphalt highway was given a vivid provocative pink resin and aggregate surfacing – and in the process became one of the best-known landmarks (and certainly most brightly-coloured) in Auckland. Three hundred LED custom light boxes were placed along the eastern edge of the cycleway to create a light spine. These are fully programmable and contain sensors to form a digital infrastructure, which will allow future artists to create an almost infinite array of new designs and patterns. The judges said Lightpath was “an incredible addition to the city… It was technologically resolved allowing the user to be totally immersed in the space.”

The Designers Institute Black Pin – Ben Corban of Alt Group

The Designers Institutes Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement is awarded to a member of the Institute who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the New Zealand design profession and towards design in general. This year’s Black Pin was awarded to Ben Corban, managing director of Alt Group, for his passionate advocacy of the design community to enable the wider community to appreciate and gain a deeper understanding of design. Ben and fellow director Dean Poole, both graduates of Elam School of Arts, combine their creative skills, fresh ideas and design strategy to provide design solutions for some of New Zealand’s top companies and arts institutions. While providing strategic and creative thinking to help clients achieve success in their businesses, Ben has provided leadership and his considerable business acumen to help build Alt Group into one of New Zealand’s most successful design companies. He has always taken time to nurture and encourage the young designers who have come through the studio doors, and also ensures that Alt Group is a strong supporter of the Designers Institute. Ben is also a generous participant in the wider arts community and is chair of the board of Ponsonby Gallery Objectspace.

Ben Corban.


Environmental Graphics

POP Marble Run – Alt Group

Ng? Aho        

Te Oro – Archimedia

Long Form

The Innovator – Buck

Blend – Opening Titles – Buck


K?kako – Language tracking – Salted Herring

Best Effect

Goodnature/Department of Conservation. A24 & Automatic Lure Pump                

Business Communication    

Home Book – Alt Group

At Your Request Communications – Studio South

Design Communication       

Silo Theatre 2016 – Alt Group

IAPA 2015: Cities in a Climate of Change – Index

Manaia Campaign – Osborne Shiwan

Design Craft – Photography

Lumojo Photography – Alt Group

Editorial and Books

Habits Form Habitats – Alt Group

From Certainty to Doubt – AREA Design

Packaging – Boutique          

Lumojo – Alt Group

Serious Popcorn – DDMMYY

Structural Packaging

Lumojo Honey Pot – Alt Group

The True Honey Co – Marx Design

Public & Institutional Built – Up to $3 million     

Cathedral Grammar School Junior School – Andrew Barrie Lab

Longbush Ecosanctuary Welcome Shelter – Sarosh Mulla Design


Verizon – Better Matters – Assembly

Hospitality – Food and Beverage

G9 Shanghai – Atelier I-N-D-J

Oaken  – Cheshire Architects

Beirut  – Cheshire Architects

Saan – Cheshire Architects

Molenberg | Sandwich Shop – Special Group


Avanti Pista Pursuit Team – Avanti Design Technology

Avanti Pista Team Olympic Edition – Avanti Design Technology

Wool Runners – Jamie McLellan Ltd.

Retail – Up to 150 square metres    

E. Von Dadelszen (Duplicate) – Cheshire Architects

Lonely Wellington


A Dog’s Story – Colenso BBDO

Repurposed Spaces

The Glass Goose – ctrl Space ltd

Faraday Street Studio – Fearon Hay Architects

Small Brand Identity – Cultural

Bowerbank Ninow Identity – DDMMYY

Basement Theatre – Studio Alexander

Self Promotion          

Designworks Honey Gift – Designworks

Office & Workplace – Between 200 and 1000 square metres

Faraday Street Studio – Fearon Hay Architects


Ag Oxijet – Felton Industries Limited

Surgical Pin Pullers – Enztec

R6R Rescue Helmet – Pacific Helmets (NZ) LTD

Colour Award          

Nice Blocks – Summer on a stick (Duplicate) – Fuman

#LightPathAKL – Monk Mackenzie Architects and LandLAB

Exhibition & Temporary Structures         

Future Islands: New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 – Future Islands

POP Marble Run – Alt Group

Large Scale Websites           

Highline: America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker – Gladeye

Zero Landfill   – Resn

Retail – Over 150 square metres     

M11 Studio – Hare Interiors

Caro’s Grey Lynn – peddlethorp


KXN – IMO Group Ltd

Public & Institutional Outdoor – $200,000 to $2 million  

Porirua CBD – Isthmus Group

Sustainable Product Design

Wool Runners – Jamie McLellan Ltd.

Public Good  

#LightPathAKL – Monk Mackenzie Architects and LandLAB

Snapped Out – Richards Partners

Karma Cola Foundation – Karma Cola

Game of Awesome – Chrometoaster

Public & Institutional Outdoor – Over $2 million

#LightPathAKL – Monk Mackenzie Architects and LandLAB

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park – Wraight Athfield Landscape + Architecture

Large Brand Identity – Cultural     

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery  – Osborne Shiwan

20th Biennale of Sydney – For The People

Residential Architecture     

Westmere House – Ponting Fitzgerald Ltd

Bethells Bach – Herbst Architects

Forest House – Fearon Hay Architects

Emerging Designer  

Longbush Ecosanctuary Welcome Shelter – Sarosh Mulla Design

Hospitality – Accommodation

Sofitel Wellington Interiors – Space Studio Ltd.

Environmental Graphics

NZIA Local Architecture Awards Display Stand  (Duplicate) – Studio Catherine Griffiths

Office & Workplace – Over 1000 square metres

Forsyth Barr – Warren and Mahoney Architects

Heartland Bank – Warren and Mahoney Architects

The APL Factory – “Lifting the Veil” – Jasmax

Large Brand Identity – Commercial          

The International – Studio South

At Your Request – Studio South

Residential Interiors

Brooklyn Townhouse  – Architecture + Interior Design


Navicula Light – David Trubridge

Packaging – FMCG 

Loving Earth – Round

Short Form   

Cadbury & Oreo – Buck

Design Craft – Illustration

Harvard Business Review – Garbett

Small Fleet Campaign – Creature

Small Brand Identity – Commercial           

The Practical Man Identity – Garbett

Healthcare – Up to $3 million

Chrysalis Early Learning Centre – Collingridge and Smith Architects UK Ltd

Small Scale Websites

Ben Pearce – Grafik

Resn – Resn

Interactive Marketing         

Verizon – Better Matters – Assembly

McWhopper – Resn

2015: The Year In Product Design – Atomic

Review overview