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New magazine celebrates contemporary NZ architecture and design

Defign
Defining New Zealand Architectural Design
RRP $12.95

A new architectural design magazine, Defign, has just beam launched to coincide with the ADNZ / Resene Architectural Design Awards.

ADNZ, which is a professional body of architects and architectural designers in New Zealand, sees the focus of the publication being on the best of New Zealand’s award winning architectural designs and the creative talent of New Zealand architects and architectural designers.

It will be published on an annual basis to provide a comprehensive catalogue of the award winning residential and commercial architectural designs and entries from the ADNZ / Resene Architectural Design Awards

ADNZ General Manager Astrid Andersen says creating Defign was a logical move for the organisation, whose annual design awards receive great acclaim and enquiries for information on the winning designs and designers.

“We wanted to create an annual publication that captured what New Zealand architects and architectural designers are truly capable of. We wanted a magazine that celebrated local talent and the unique kiwi design aesthetic. We also wanted a magazine that could transcend a monthly use by date; one that could naturally adorn a coffee table throughout the year while still remaining current and inspiring. We hope Defign will be a ‘go to’ publication for readers to keep on hand and refer to for inspiration and ideas when building or renovating a home,” says Andersen.

In the first issue of Defign more than 100 unique, architecturally designed homes and commercial premises are exhibited. All of the entries have at least one image and the finalists and winners are given additional space with a couple of images. A few of the buildings are further investigated with more substantial articles.

The editors note, that surprisingly, consistent themes can be seen in the majority of the entries.

It does seem however that the one consistent design feature is the ubiquitous kitchen bench / bar which is either an indication of  the universal acceptance of certain design features or possibly a lack of innovative design solutions.

“New Zealanders have an exceptional ability to weave in the surrounding environment and to create spaces that fit perfectly within their landscape, says Defign editor Adrienne Andersen. “In our first issue there are so many stunning examples of built structures that are truly at one with their surroundings. Being the first issue of the magazine, I think Defign also achieved its goal of demonstrating to the general public the depth and quality currently being achieved by kiwi designers.”

One of the judges, a  Zurich based Italian architect makes some pertinent observations in a short interview, noting “I think one of the main characteristics of Kiwi architectural design, especially for housing projects, is the ability to design spaces where the sensations and the feelings are fundamental elements. Often it seems that in the spaces the time slows down, similar to an alcove or to a shelter”

Another important aspect,” she notes “is the relationship with the landscape, it seems that the landscape pretends to be part of the project. The landscape materially enters project and the boundaries between indoor and outdoor are then”

As well as the articles on architecture there are some related to art (Julia Morison) and design (Bec and Douglas Snelling).

The magazine also provides those seeking architects for their own projects an overview of some of the new talent. The overall Supreme Winner of the award was Cameroon Cotton of Cubular, a Tauranga based firm, for his showrooms at Long Bay. He was also a finalist in the small house section and the larger home section. He was also Nation l Winner of the Commercial / Industrial section and a finalist in the Commercial interior section.

There were other names which stood out with multiple awards including Bob Burnett) Bob Burnett Architecture), Cymon Allfrey (Cymon Allfrey   Architects), Kris Wilson (Design House Architecture) and Tane Cox (Red Architecture).

In addition to Defign magazine, ADNZ has also launched an online Defign blog to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in New Zealand architectural design throughout the year. Each week Defign blog will share stories on the creative talent behind the builds, the innovation and technology that inspire great design and take readers behind the scenes of some of New Zealand’s  award winning homes.

More by John Daly-Peoples