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Best Design Awards | Results


After six weeks of showcasing New Zealand's Best graphic, interactive, product and spatial design for 2012, I'm delighted to announce the overall 'supreme' winners. Chosen from 300 finalists, the judges had their work cut out for them prior to the awards ceremony, which was held at Auckland's Viaduct Centre on Friday night. Bronze and Silver awards were given across each category, while Gold Pins were given to those judged Best. The supreme Purple Pin was awarded to the very best project in each category 'for work that raises the bar of New Zealand design.' 

Here are the 2012 Purple Pin recipients.

Strong branding and clever use of typography. No question, it's all about the Art.  

Sons & Co. Silo Theatre (New Zealand's Best Interactive Design - Small Scale Websites)
I remember seeing these graphics for the first time on the back of a bus and thinking how cool they were. Breaking the mould of traditional theatre branding, the contemporary re-design has a whimsical feel, with its protruding body parts and pastel pink background. Judges said the theatre website was 'engaging, on par with international typographic standards, and reflected the art company’s cutting edge identity".
This revolutionary design makes me proud to be a Kiwi. Until recently only adult breathing tubes, using 40 year old technology, were available to treat infants in respiratory distress. Researched in 50 hospitals in four countries, the product is currently being launched in the United States. Bravo Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. 

I'm sure anyone whose ever done a Pump class will agree the traditional barbell design, which hasn't changed in decades, can be cumbersome and slow to adjust. The cutting edge, ergonomically designed SmartBar has a simple leaver release, making transitions much faster. I'm looking forward to trying this puppy out.  

Providing a ground-level thoroughfare between Fort Lane and Queen Street, Imperial Lane is the backbone of this restoration project by Fearon Hay Architects. Home to hospitality tenants, I love how the cobblestone paved laneway has adopted the pedestrian only features, similar to New York and Melbourne. 

Fearon Hay Architects. Imperial Buildings ( New Zealand's Best Spatial Design - Built Environment)
A favourite of mine from the start, the restored Imperial Buildings are a rich mix of heritage spaces in Auckland's CBD. Judges said that the project “sets a leadership example of how we should shape our cities ... The Imperial Buildings (and Lane) is a game changer and a tremendous gift to the city of Auckland". 

Two new awards were introduced this year. The Best Effect Award was judged by business people as opposed to designers, and they were looking for return on design investment rather than quality of design. The other is the Ngā Aho Award for excellence in Maori and Aotearoa design. 'Design that reflects a clear understanding of who we are by responding to our indigenous culture, heritage and sense of place'. 

Purple Pins were awarded as follows. 

Designworks. Silver Fern Farms (New Zealand's Best Effect Design - Best Effect)
This four year rebrand project has seen Silver Fern Farms become "one of New Zealand’s largest exporters in one of our most critical sectors". 

Tennent & Brown Architects. Ngā Purapura, Ōtaki (New Zealand's Best Nga Aho Design - Nga Aho)
With a focus on improving the physical wellbeing for Maori, this tertiary institution's new building incorporates two sports courts, a cardio gym, nutrition training kitchen, classrooms and offices. The impressive design represents the holistic model of Maori health with a four folded roof creating spaces within the neutral form of the sports hall.

To see the full list of winners, including the individuals who received the special Black Pins, visit

So that wraps up the series for this year. I'm going to miss the weekly NZ design fix but I have no doubt these designers will keep producing great stuff for me to share on the blog!    

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