Urbis Design Day Review
A belated post is this one, but nether the less an important one. N9W visited Auckland’s design day hosted by Urbis magazine with high hopes and on a mission to integrate with all of NZ’s creative cutting edge and enjoy the buzz surrounding the occasion.
Firstly, as experienced European design fare attendants we must state that the poor standard of experience (see 100% design, milan furniture fair) far outweighs the good (see interieur, clerkenwell design week) when it comes to these events - primarily because they are treated as a sales exercise for the million and one companies out there all trying to get their noses in front.
Hence forth why we were excited by the Urbis concept. Quite simply, 12 locations around Auckland city where a designer and manufacturer/distributor have collaborated to create an experience based on a subject matter set by Urbis….this years brief revolving around ‘colour in motion’.
Now, as organiser and overall event directors Urbis should be congratulated. They are stimulating the under explored NZ design scene and it is proving very succesful with creative’s who were out in force from across the country and beyond. And, for their part on the day, the event ran smoothly and the crowd was pleased. Our only gripe is that they should have handed out the latest issue of the mag free to fill the somewhat light complimentary tote bag (hence the term ‘gift bag’).
As for the locations, we are not going to name names but lets say that overall it was around a 7/12 success. Where the creative’s took centre stage we had some really good spaces, the senses were awakened, the taste buds were livened, the fairytale regaled and the love of the detail prevailed. However, in other instances we had a plain old showroom with a bottle of red on the side and a couple of painted models…its shame that the creative consistency was just not there.
And there in lies the issue, in our opinion, the design and experience should govern the product, and not the other way around. We all know what a chair looks like, what a showroom looks like and indeed what a bath looks like. What we don’t know though is how they came to be, whether they can be manipulated to evolve into something else, or how we can celebrate the very design integrity that the product proudly sells itself upon.
Anyhow, this is not a rant, as it a very good thing that Urbis are encouraging, what we need now is more of the creative, less of the mundane. If anything should be noted it is that Urbis should push their collaborators very hard, perhaps even put it out to competition so that every single location is as exciting and diverse as the last. Perhaps looking at other cities around NZ would be advantageous, or as we are adults, stage it late in the day and into the night as it opens all manner of opportunity for sound, light and atmosphere to come through.
We look forward to next year with hope, you give us an appetite for design in NZ Urbis, its down to you to keep pushing it and ultimately fulfilling it..