Era-Defining New Zealand Design Pieces Of The Past 20 Years

New Zealand design has gone from being locally celebrated to internationally sought-after. Melinda Williams looks at 20 significant items from the last 20 years



The L4 Table was an early piece from Simon James, a simple, seamless table that showed off the possibilities of bent plywood.


As much art as furniture, craftsman Carin Wilson’s Nohoanga Chair weaves together native timbers, leather and brass.


Designer and ceramicist Jeremy Cole’s Aloe Blossom Light, released a year earlier, catches the attention of the world’s design media featuring in interiors magazines andluxury private homes around the world.


When it launched, the ceramic Antipode Planter by Kiwi Patrick Morris turned pot-plants on their head and won a UK New Designers Award. Also made in a recycled plastic version, it’s known as the Sky Planter.


Lance McGregor is one of New Zealand’s most successful design exports, having worked in senior design roles for Fabien Baron, Tom Dixon, M.A.C and West Elm furniture, where he designed their hugely successful Martini Side Table, before setting up his own studio.


Whanganui-based glass artist Katie Brown’s Whisper Lights are delicate, elegant, and just slightly Seussian.


Shoehorning in early on a soon-to-be famous name, the iPad by Andre Hodgskin brought a new level of architectural sophistication to the prefab kitset home.


If you like the dramatic George restaurant atop the Pompidou Centre in Paris by architectural partners Dominique Jakob and New Zealand-born Brendan Macfarlane, you’ll love their similarly sculptural Float Light.


The adaptable moulds of Phil Cuttance’s poured-resin Faceture Vases mean no two are the same.


The first light released for NZ-based international design brand Resident was Jamie McClellan’s epically-sized Spar Light, influenced by the look of yachts and their rigging. It’s still a best-seller.


Tim Webber’s aluminium-framed Press Mirror took compass points as a reference to add unexpected detail.


The award-winning Blunt Umbrella has become an urban status symbol, but it really is the only umbrella you’ll ever need.


Under the guidance of the late, brilliant Kent Snedden, Methven became an international force in bath-roomware. The Aio Showerhead paired water-saving technology with sensual minimalist design.


The modular steel KXN by IMO scored a Best Award for its “thoroughly considered” kitchen cabinetry design system.


Gary Backhouse and Joe Dinsdale designed the JWD Chair as a tribute to Gary’s late father Joe Backhouse, founder of Wellington-born Backhouse Interiors. Mixing mid-century influence and modern machining, it’s intended as the start of an ongoing collection.


Taking the Kiwi “beer crate coffee table” mentality to a more sophisticated level, designer Katy Wallace’s Banana Box turned a ubiquitous, cheap item into a clever storage unit.


Fisher & Paykel launches the original DishDrawer Dishwasher into the United States, and it becomes an international sensation, in part thanks to its ability to cater to the kosher market.


One of NZ’s most iconic designs, David Trubridge’s steam-bent Body Raft, by was bought for production by Italian furniture giant Cappellini a year later.


Potter Chris Weaver has created many iterations of the teapot. This beautiful one was awarded the Merit Award at the first Portage Ceramics Awards in 2001.


With his bright, multi-functional OX stools, Fletcher Vaughan aimed to make good design more accessible.

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