We challenged designers to produce enlightened works of art that raise awareness around environmentally friendly materials and practices.
The Locus team organised a design competition and exhibition to profile New Zealand technology and design working together. Being involved in the development of new materials, we jumped at the opportunity to connect design with science and create something really special. The competition provided a forum for New Zealand’s designers and furniture makers to interact with the public and a chance to be part of an exhibition with a positive environmental message.
The exhibition pieces were made of Green Seal, an innovative material that utilised sustainable ‘Indurite’ technology. It was originally developed at Forest Research and further developed by Pacific Hardwood and Carter Holt Harvey. Cellulose hardened pine, Green Seal has the beauty and performance characteristics of a hardwood, yet comes from sustainably managed NZ plantation forests. It proved to be the perfect material for the competition.
Research & Testing
Print & Packaging
First cab off the rank: the Locus team developed the directives. Designers were asked to create a piece of functional furniture that explores the potential of Green Seal while embodying the concepts of transformation and renewal — Science, meet Design. Each piece was to illustrate how we can create objects that reduce environmental impact and also emphasise personal expression and exploration of these issues.
The three major New Zealand design schools, Unitec, Massey University, and Victoria University, participated in the competition and included it as part of their curriculum. Green Seal material was supplied to these courses to allow the students to become familiar with the product properties, experiment with it, and ultimately produce a design.
Metaform 03 was also open for entry to the general design and architectural communities, which resulted in two exhibition categories: Student and Open/Professional.
Initial design proposals were judged, with successful proposals receiving the appropriate amount of Green Seal product to bring their design to life. The Locus team then pulled together an elite team of design-minded fellows to judge the final art pieces. The panel included designers Mark Pennington, Humphrey Ikin, and Pradeep Sharma, architect Pete Bossley, and Victoria design lecturer Tim Miller.
COLLABORATING FOR SUCCESS
The competition was supported by three major companies: The team at Locus Research conceived, created, curated, and managed the exhibition from concept to completion. We also designed the exhibition space and supporting materials, convened the selection process, and provided liaison between the schools and greater design community.
Carter Holt Harvey was the primary supporter of the Metaform competition, supplying the Green Seal material to the participating schools and selected designers.
AGM Publishing promoted the competition and exhibitions throughout New Zealand via Prodesign, the official magazine of the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand.
In order to give the wider public an opportunity to see the work and spread the message, the first exhibition was held at the Auckland Museum, a venue accessible and familiar to the general public. Another exhibition was held at the Dowse in Wellington, celebrating the furniture design that challenges traditional boundaries.
Overall, this was a substantive exhibition that we are very proud of. It was held at a time when New Zealand design did not enjoy the level of support it does today. It also inspired many of the young designers to go on and do great things in the design community.
“The brief was to challenge the pre-defined notions that were associated with wood or timber furniture. When you look at these [objects], wood is not your first consideration because the materials have been pushed to the extreme to create those forms.”
— PAULA BUCKLEY, LECTURER IN 3D DESIGN, UNITEC