Design Of The Times

The heads of design at Città reflect on the finalists and what excites them right now.

Design Of The Times

The heads of design at Città reflect on the finalists and what excites them right now.

What jumps out at you when you look at the Here Awards finalists and winners? 

David Moreland: The diversity – from a toolshed to apartments, coastal homes, even a cricket pavilion! All of the projects are beautifully executed, with considered perspectives of how to best inhabit their environment, and cater to the people they are made for.

Imogen Tunnicliffe: Geometry is part of architecture but many of these builds seem to have a real focus on it – cubes and boxes stacked and arranged, triangular windows and rooflines, curved shapes. I also love the linear sheaths – a way to delineate spaces and provide texture, privacy and protection without having to rely on a solid wall. And there seems to be a utilitarian, functional architectural style and use of materials. Not aiming to “hide” away connecting beams and structural elements, and in many cases actually exposing them to make them a feature of the build.

We’ve noticed a continued shift to colour and texture this year. Are you seeing this in your work?

IT: I think there is a craving for something different at the moment – and just more colour full stop. There has been a shift over the past couple of years away from a focus on earthiness. The colours we have been working with lately have been warm and strong – and even sunny and fresh.

DM: Traditionally we have used a lot of natural Oak and Ash for our collections but recently we have been working with a lot more smoked, dark and black stains as well as walnut. Using natural materials is an important part of what we do as they bring warmth to any space and the intentional shift towards working with a darker colour palette has been integral to a lot of our design work recently.

Landscape and whenua became a huge part of our judging – how does this affect your work?

DM: All the projects are unique expressions of place and nature. The whenua and this contextual approach is inevitably part of our work as well. We create furniture, textiles, lighting and accessories designed here, for people living in Aotearoa.


Do you have a favourite (go on)?

IT: I love the geometric design of Nightlight, and the usefulness of this space, and I particularly love how they have thought about how the building will look at night – like a little beacon. And Waimataruru – the location and the view are winning, but it was the living area that tipped it over the edge for me. The steps down to the lower level and the high-framed, built-in seating area give the feeling of a hideaway, but then if you look up you have this huge open window with that limitless view. It’s really clever how one fairly small space can elicit two quite different feelings. 

Are there particular buildings that inspire your work apart from these fine houses?

IT: I’m really excited by the buildings of Luis Barragán, a Mexican architect most prolific from the 50s to the 70s. He was clearly influenced by the use of colour in traditional Mexican architecture and popular culture. Although his work feels like modernism, he was frustrated by “cold functionalism” and he used space, colour and light to create buildings that felt warm and expansive. 

What do you look for when buying things for your own homes? 

DM: Space is always an issue as our family occupies a small bungalow, so I’m on a strict “no more chairs” policy moving forward! But I always love a sentimental connection; knowing or admiring the designer, maker or artist means the object will always have a special place in your home.

IT: I don’t often go looking for things to fill a specific space in my house, but usually purchase items on a whim because I just really love them. Colour has always been important to me, which isn’t to say my house looks like a circus tent, but the combinations of colours within a space are something that I definitely contemplate. 

This story was produced in association with our awards sponsor Città.

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