The Wool Challenge

At Idealog, we regularly celebrate our design community's brilliance. Admittedly, we also get a twisted sort of pleasure out of making our annual design challenge harder and harder each year – but that’s because we want to ensure the community continues to think outside the box. Thanks to our friends at Icebreaker, we sent out a box of very raw wool fibre to some talented humans in a range of design disciplines and tasked them with recreating an everyday object using wool. Here’s what interdisciplinary design studio Isthmus came up with – comfort felt.

Wellbeing Month

In 2019, companies are more focused than ever on the health and happiness of their staff, as wellbeing becomes increasingly seen as a key indicator of success along economic value by governments – including our very own – and organisations across the world. This is because while the corporate world has long seen the bottom line as the be all and end all, companies are increasingly taking a more holistic view and recognising that looking after the wellbeing of their people will in turn make their bottom line healthier, too. We reached out to the people in charge of wellbeing policies at some of New Zealand's top companies and asked what they're focused on for this year and why. Here's what FCB, Isthmus, RUSH, Southern Cross, Xero and Trade Me responded.

Wellbeing Month

Cities are systems in which the people are meant to thrive, but Isthmus creative director David Irwin says the design of them is instead accentuating many of the human ailments, such as stress, anxiety and depression. Here, he outlines how using a human-centric approach in urban design can support the needs of a modern world.


Isthmus CEO Ralph Johns says the current New Zealand condition is we are increasingly physical and mentally unwell, our communities are disconnected, access to good housing is inequitable and our environment is suffering. However, these issues that reflect global uncertainty and complexity can also be tackled by casting aside traditional models and structuring your business around ambiguity.

Idealog + Isthmus

Isthmus’ original plan for the Wellington waterfront at Kumutoto composed two key spatial moves: to push the city out and let the sea in. Now, over a decade on, the project is nearing completion. The latest phase of work – North Kumutoto – extends the laneway, tracing the historic sea wall past new commercial buildings. And while the precinct has evolved since its original plan, it still explores the relationship between land and sea. Findlay Buchanan talks with Isthmus CEO Ralph Johns about the new additions.

Bridging the gap

Isthmus has revealed a new design for the city’s lakefront that captures the rich history and cultural ties associated with the popular tourism destination. The main feature of the impression is a 600-metre long curved boardwalk that extends out into the water on one end, symbolising the relationship between the city’s people, the land and the water, while marking several historical locations.

Māori New Year

Matariki is the word on every New Zealander’s lips this winter. From Auckland Council’s three-week Matariki festival to Wellington managing to summon a whale into the harbour, naming it Matariki and having to postpone the first annual Matariki fireworks display because of it, people are starting to celebrate the Māori New Year more than ever before. Here's how several local businesses, including ANZ and Isthmus, are marking the occasion.