Best of the Best Designers Speak – Wellington

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17 May 17

The Best of the Best Designers Speak was held in Wellington last night, it was my first time going but it won't be my last. To set the scene It took me 40 minutes to find a park and only 4 minutes to skull my wine. Surrounded by a sea of black and stripes I was in my element. If you missed it here's a quick (but kinda long) run down.

The talk began with the energetic Aaron McKirdy from Chrometoaster, presenting THE GAME OF AWESOMEEEE (as he liked to say it). Commissioned by the Ministry of Education Aaron and his team had 24 hours to come up with an idea that encouraged young kids to write. You’d think hiring Bret McKenzie and the nek minute guy for their video would be enough but they took it even further. They hired a sick cartoonist and created a PG version of cards of humanity. This project surprised me not only because it’s fun and facilitates learning but it also encourages creativity and imagination in schools, which is still quite a modern concept to some educators. So props to you and your team Aaron your are truly awesome!

Second in Line was the winner of the Public good purple pin, Robert Van Dam from Good nature who was a surprise speaker of the night. Let's just say Robbie and his team have pretty much hacked life, solving a problem that New Zealander’s have been trying to solve for the last 40 years. Good Nature was able to do the unthinkable and create a resetting trap that is light, cheap and toxin free. Their aim is to make New Zealand Pest free but for now, their product allows DOC to not only save more birds but save money doing it compared to traditional trapping programmes.

LandLAB & Monk Mackenzie Architects Presented to us their LightPathAKL, not only is it a breath-taking fluorescent cycle way but it was also refurbished from a piece of forgotten highway. From the barrier of lights to the pink floor, it is definitely a brave and joyous disruption to Auckland’s current gritty landscape.

Up next was Jamie McLellan presenting Allbirds with their Wool Runners. If you haven’t heard Wool Runners are a line of funky footwear where the main material is wool. Not only are they incredibly comfy but have they have been designed down to the finest detail that they are simply stunning. Even though Jamie and Allbirds founders are here today with one of New Zealand’s sickest brands of footwear it was a very long and rocky journey, so the moral of the story was to just keep swimming and you will get there.

Last but not least was the all famous Dean Poole from Alt group presenting his POP Marble run. If you’re not familiar with Dean Poole he has a way with words but his greatest power is getting you on his island. Last night he used his immeasurable amount of passion and excitement to take us on the same journey he once took to arrive at the idea of what is now the POP marble run. When hearing Dean speak he makes everything seem so simple, leaving you in awe of how his brain works. His project was a perfect combination of aesthetic, interactivity and crazy. I wouldn’t be able to explain his work as well as he could so I’ll let you find out for yourselves – and in if your Auckland go and have a play you won’t regret it!

When sitting there listening to these design legends I couldn’t help think how lucky I was (and everyone else in the room) to be in a profession that allows us to play, create and encourage. We have a community like no other that continues to support and inspire, which is pretty amazing. So, if you want to feel as inspired and mushy as I did last night make sure not to miss it next year.

Connah Hazelwood, 
Junior Designer.