Thursday, June 11, 2009

Australian International Design Awards

The Australian International Design Awards [AIDA] are held each year to award the best in design within Australia [this includes product designed in both Australia and overseas]. I was very privileged to attend the awards night as a guest of Dyson [Thanks Erica!] who are a major sponsor of the awards and co-established the James Dyson Award which is awarded to a student project.

It was a gala night with gorgeous frocks and black tie, champagne flowing and great food [courtesy of Peninsula at the Docklands in Melbourne]. Hosted by Julia Zemiro - a very funny lady [I loved the vintage Pucci dress she wore see below - in which she had been dubbed worst dressed at the Logies] the night ran smoothly, Julia I think was a highlight to what could have potentially been a bit of a long night [there were a lot of awards...].

Here are some of the highlights...

In the consumer category...

The Fisher & Paykel Izona cook surface - this fuses the best of ceramic and gas cookers. It has an easy to clean almost flush surface when not in use due to the retracting burners, smart thinking.

I had seen this oven before but never really understood why it was such a good idea to have the bottom of the oven drop down like that. I actually imagined that the food would get cold while you were checking it. It wasn't until the awards night when they explained that the Siemens liftMatic does quite the opposite - when the bottom drops down all the heat stays in the oven [due to heat rising and all that!] so the oven temp doesn't drop also making it more energy efficient. The food can be accessed from 3 sides without obstruction so the risks of getting burned are minimal. Very Clever!

I have a coffee machine that I love but I have been intrigued by the Nespresso system since a friend bought one - they are so simple and taste really great. The De'longhi Nespresso Lattissima Coffee machine is the smallest cappuccino maker in the market and we all need that extra space - I think I may be eying off one of these when my current machine decides it doesn't love me anymore...

In the Housing & Building category...

I have blogged about Methven before, their products are beautiful and well designed and now they have a AIDA to prove it! The Tahi Shower System consumes only 9 ltrs of water per minute - and has that look of simplicity that creates understated luxury. Perfect to create the spa feel everyone is after these days.

In the Architectural & Interior Products category...

Isn't this fire just divine -in that kind of cool retro way? I'm thinking sunken lounge with cream shag pile. But really, the EcoSmart Zeta fire is certainly a feature piece and it has amazing design flexibility, with its free-standing form this flue-less fire can be used just about anywhere. The swivel base means it can be turned to face any direction within the room and it runs on eco friendly ethanol.

The New York Guggenheim Museum Lamp won a Design Mark [all the other products I have mentioned have won a Design Award, a design mark is like a commendation] for its simple flat pack construction and unique concept. Based on the iconic Guggenheim Museum the lamp is easy to construct and the final product preserves the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright's seamless structure. I love the simplicity of this lamp that can only come with such a well designed product.

I should also mention the winner of the Design Award of the Year - congratulations to Qantas and Marc Newson for the Qantas A380 Economy Seating - I hope I get to experience it soon, especially seeing they managed to get an extra 2 inches space [I think that's right - I didn't jot it down on the night but that point has stuck in my head] and the ergonomics of the seat sound sooo much better than the current economy seating [those long haul flights are killers - especially if you then have to traipse around international trade shows the day after you arrive].

There were lots of other amazing designs for many categories, check them all out here.

One other thing I loved - the branding for this years awards was really sublime. You can see some of it in the top image, on the front cover of the program book. Thanks again to Dyson for having me as their guest, I believe it was another successful evening and I was happy to be a part of it.

[all images via Australian International Design Awards]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DesignEx 2009 : Finally!!

This post is running a little [OK maybe a lot late -seeing as DesignEx was back in the end of April -without going into too much detail lets just say I am experiencing technical difficulties with post layouts and being a horrible perfectionist I have been reluctant to post if it doesn't look right...] but here it is at last - i spy DesignEX 2009 highlights.

Those unfamiliar with DesignEx need to know its Australia's Design trade show that alternates annually between Melbourne and Sydney. Melbourne was host to 2009's show.

This year DesignEx featured Kaleidoscope a new area to highlight the latest trends in soft furnishings & textiles. Within this was Observatory, an inspiring installation featuring products from exhibitors in Kaleidoscope. The installation took us to 3 view points - One Small Step - looking up, Guerrillas In The Mist - looking through [above top] and Just Like Little Ants - looking down [above bottom]. It was great to see textiles displayed in a unique fashion and within the context of 3 trends to inspire designers. More images below.

As part of Kaleidoscope Panorama gave exhibitors the opportunity to provide designers with a snapshot of their latest textiles in a 1 x 1m space.

Popping pink from Zepel fabrics

Publisher textiles displays some of their amazing patterns. They also have fabulous wallpaper.Some of the best stands utilised natural timber finishes or referred to nature in design, form or display elements.

Gunnersens created texture with simple raw timber pieces creating a matchstick effect

I loved the detail created by these little origami birds on the Big River stand

Kif & Katast make these gorgeous screens and benches that can be used both inside and out. The image above is their new custom designed glass splashback range which looks great and would work well as many other design features [backlit bar front? shower screen?...] Check out their website for other great products.

Kif & Katast Gingko Bench

Kif & Katast Corten Screens

The simple tree shapes on the Abet Laminati stand displayed their new laminates - forbidden fruit - lovely & eco friendly reproductions of endangered timbers & Serigrafia silkscreen surfaces - including sixteen designs by Paola Navone.

Meizai had a visually stunning stand with natural timber and nature providing a theme for the sculptural type displays.

One of the unique stands at DesignEx was by The Laminex Group. Their concept was an evolving sculpture created by simple blocks [or 'product bars' in their words] finished in various Laminex surfaces. With no fixed elements the stand was constantly changing with the help of performance artists. Its was a really easy way to view each surface as well as the products weren't lost in a complicated stand concept.

I loved the way these two children were completely captivated by the android like performance artists, they had no idea what to make of them!!

What a great way to display wall tiles, this eye catching display was from Bespoke Tile & Stone. I especially love the leather tiles [above bottom]

This uber chic stand was for Cascade Coil. It was quite a luxe look [a bit D&G Gold] for a company that is quite industrial, a good way to bring designers attention to their interesting product.

The Fisher & Paykel Izona Cool Drawer is such a innovative product [click on link to see other great Izona product]. I love it when designers strip away all preconceptions of an everyday item and address functionality and aesthetics as if they are designing a product that has never existed. The Cool Drawer can be a freezer, fridge, pantry or wine store with its different temp settings and as you can see from the images it can be fully integrated. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of this product in hotel rooms, so much better that the traditional mini bar, or maybe in bedside drawers as was also seen on this stand, you can use your imagination to think about what advantage this may be...

One of the small stands at DesignEx was also one of the best. Marc Pascal's beautiful lights spoke for themselves in this installation. I have long been a fan of the Eyoi yoi pendant light.

I loved the wall art [stickers] by Interior Instyle that appeared randomly throughout the show. Interior Instyle have amazing designs and quite a big collection. I am a big fan of wall stickers especially when I am renting as they are removable, there are a few walls in this house that could do with a bit of interest...

Love to know what you think, please leave us a comment...

[all images are property of i spy, please credit and link back if you use them]

Next post - the Australian International Design Awards.