Teams from Tauranga and Auckland are two of the five finalists in the inaugural design competition
The Nohonga Design Challenge is a joint initiative between Brick Bay Sculpture Trust and the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Tuia Pito Ora.
Richard Didsbury, owner and director of Brick Bay, says, “We want Auckland to be a great, liveable city that embraces creativity. The Nohonga Design Challenge is intended to stimulate conversation and ideas, and invite people to re-think what’s possible within the public realm.”
Whiria is a design inspired by harakeke, and the Māori whakataukī (proverb) ‘whiria te harakeke, whiria te tāngata’ – weave the flax, weave the people. The harakeke symbolises the whānau (family); the rito (shoot) represents the child; the awhi rito (inner leaves) represents the parents; and the outer leaves represent the tūpuna (grandparents / ancestors). The design celebrates the weaving of people through various raranga (weaving) methods such as kete (baskets), whāriki (mats), kākahu (garments) and putiputi (flowers).
Whiria was submitted by Auckland-based “Team Tenax”: Katherine Eastman, Alex Smith and Erin Diao, with storytelling input from William Hatton.
Made of mild steel, folded into various modules, a combination of Resene colours (Turtle Green and Grass Hopper) play a key role in the design, both by providing a visual link to the flax leaf, contributing to a sense of fun and vibrancy, and ensuring the protection of the steel structure from corrosion.
Hanna O’Donoughue was part of the design critique, and says, “Katherine, Alex and Erin have developed an outstanding design — a strong simple and creative idea clearly illustrated and presented. The story from idea to proposal can on first glance be understood but on second reading can contain a rich layering of interest.
“The simple idea of folding harakeke and the exploration of creating a module system to control outlook, experience and the ability to be playful really showcases this team’s ability to bring ideas together and work collaboratively. We’re all looking forward to seeing this Nohonga come to life!”
Bioluminescence interprets the chemiluminescence that occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates through the filter of childhood seaside memories.
Two graduate landscape architects from the Tauranga office, Topsy Steele and Anna Li, took aspects of shells, waves and the colours of the beach and created a spiral seating element sheltered by a timber frame and woven tapestry screen. Smooth, graceful underwater movement informed the base of the design; while the space inside, surrounded by the tapestry, evokes the mental calm and sense of sanctuary that sitting near the ocean brings.
The seating element is concrete with a sandblasted finish, while the beams are macrocarpa, chamfered at the top to accentuate the view upwards. The woven tapestry of wire, manila rope and nylon cord will enclose the spiral, creating layered shadows that bring a dynamic element to the experience.
Topsy and Anna were mentored by Matt Peacocke, who says, “Anna and Topsy make us proud with the concept of their unique and intriguing Nohonga seat; and the fact that their design was selected as a finalist, in the company of some quite experienced teams, is fantastic recognition of their talents.
“What particularly impressed me, as I followed the development of the seat, was their approach to lay a foundation based on the narrative and the experiential, which then drove the aesthetics and the form. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it built so I can experience it for myself.”
Both teams will receive support from the event sponsors to fund the further design, construction and implementation of their proposal, with an initial public installation will be at Britomart in Auckland during November.
Jeremy Hansen, project manager at Britomart, says, “We are delighted to support these landscape architects by displaying the results of their ingenuity in Takutai Square. We are deeply appreciative of the generosity that underpins all their work: Auckland needs an abundance of welcoming, engaging public spaces, and all of these designers are dedicated to providing them, not just with these individual pieces but in their ongoing day-to-day work on much larger projects, too.”
25 June 2020