Edward Barber's judging duties

We're really excited that this year's Design Awards jury will include an international judge, Edward Barber, of the London design firm BarberOsgerby. Auckland's Interior Design Guild is bringing him to New Zealand to give two talks on March 11 (we'll post details on how to buy tickets next week), and has generously allowed us to fit the Design Awards judging into his schedule.

Edward and his design partner, Jay Osgerby, studied architecture together at the Royal College of Art in London and established their firm in 1996. Since then, they have experienced a dizzying rise to prominence, with works now included in the collections of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Barber and Osgerby’s acclaimed designs have included chairs, tables, fabric and lamps as well as interiors, including those of fashion designer Stella McCartney’s stores. They have accepted commissions as diverse as designing furniture for a cathedral on England’s south coast and dining chairs for the famed modernist De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea. Here's an image of the De La Warr Pavilion chair:

Gareth Williams from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum nicely sums up the BarberOsgerby aesthetic: “I have always admired the seriousness of BarberOsgerby’s designs, which are never about stylistic gimmicks or novelties,” he says. “Their furniture is a continuum with British modernist design of the mid-20th century: calm, often quite discrete, polite, well-made and fit for purpose.”

In 2007, the duo were awarded the title “Royal Designers for Industry”, the highest honour that can be accorded to designers in the UK. Only 200 designers can hold the distinction at one time.

Some other BarberOsgerby designs: The 'Bottle' table.

And the aluminium 'Shell' chair.

And the designers themselves. Jay is on the left, Edward on the right:

You can see more of their work at http://www.barberosgerby.com/. We're looking forward to welcoming Edward to New Zealand.

Entries to our Design Awards closed last night - we received over 80 of them, which is a pleasing response. Last year's winner, Guy Hohmann, created his 'Rhythm' shelf while studying at Unitec. After his Design Awards success, a limited edition of Guy's shelves sold out at Eon, and he picked up a commission from Bombay Sapphire. Here's an image of 'Rhythm' shelf as it appeared in the magazine:

You can see more of Guy's work on his website, http://www.guyhohmann.com/. We'll publish the winner and finalists in this year's Design Awards in our April/May issue, on shelves April 6.

Designing from the inside out

The Arrowtown architect Max Wild, who designed a home that was a finalist in our Home of the Year award in 2007, has another home in our upcoming June issue that was commissioned by Sam Neill for the manager of his Two Paddocks vineyard in Earnscleugh, near Clyde. Here's one of Paul McCredie's photographs of it.

One of the interesting things about Max's architecture is that he strives not to create beautiful objects, but homes that are beautiful to live in. And while the home in the photograph above is not conventionally beautiful, it performs superbly in Earnscleugh's sizzling summers and deathly cold winters. Here's what Max had to say about it in our interview with him earlier today:

In a way [this house] is reverting to what I understood to be the early modernist ideal of a building being discovered by how it plays through the year, of environmental control as aesthetics. We've reached the point where a building’s aesthetic is what it looks like, but that seems less profound than how it makes you feel. When you come in the front door [of this house] it’s quite neat because often it’s such an improvement on the day outside. If it’s cold outside, inside it’s bright and warm. I’m not saying it’s a masterwork of architecture, but that’s the point of it – it’s hopefully a reasonably straightforward, pleasurable response.

You get a clearer idea of what Max is talking about when you see the home's light-filled interior, with its simple materials and generous spaces.

Max says magazines are partly guilty of propagating the idea that the form of a house - how it looks in the landscape - is of greater importance than how it performs or feels to live in. Point taken - we admit to being seduced by plenty of homes that fit this description in the past, and probably will continue to be - but we also believe the best architects are always conscious of the experience of being inside a building, and of the importance of comfort. Hopefully homes like this one by Max will get people thinking about assessing homes for more than just their visual appearance, and lead to a deeper consideration of what a home should be.

Lots of people have been asking us about Anton Parsons, the artist whose sculpture, 'Numbers', features on our current cover, on the deck of the house designed by Lance and Nicky Herbst of Herbst Architects. Here's one of Becky Nunes' photographs of it:

Anton graduated from the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts in 1990, and is now based in Auckland. His work is already part of a number of major public collections. You can check out his website here:

Anton is represented by Two Rooms gallery in Auckland (http://www.tworooms.org.nz/), Suite Gallery in Wellington (http://www.suite.co.nz/) and Jonathan Smart Gallery in Christchurch (http://www.jonathansmartgallery.com/). Some of Anton's works are of a smaller scale, so would-be collectors shouldn't be put off by the size of the one on our cover.

Wellingtonians might be familiar with Anton's work 'Invisible City' on Lambton Quay:

One of the nice things about focusing on 'Art Houses' in our current issue is that it gave us a good excuse to photograph the Auckland home of artist Stephen Bambury and his wife Jan.

The home was designed a decade ago by Pip Cheshire of Cheshire Architects (with assistance from Kendon McGraill); Stephen Bambury describes living there as "like living inside one of my paintings".

Indeed, Patrick Reynolds' photos of the house - those that I'm using in this post didn't make it into our article - beautifully capture the connections between Stephen's rigorous, meditative paintings and his home.

One of the best things about the house is its connection with its garden. Stephen has long been fascinated with the exquisite walled gardens of Suzhou, near Shanghai, where in more elegant times Beijing's leading civil servants retired to create beautiful calligraphy while (presumably) sipping tea and watching the seasons change.

(Some of these gardens are now World Heritage Sites - Suzhou is only an hour from Shanghai, so you should definitely visit if you're ever in the area. The UNESCO World Heritage Guide to Suzhou's gardens is at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/813).

The Bamburys' garden is as restrained and, in its own contemporary way, as pleasing as those in Suzhou. It is also a reminder that, in our view-obsessed nation, a small view of a garden on a constrained city site can be as pleasing as a massive coastal vista. To prove this point, some more of Patrick's shots:

To view more of Stephen Bambury's work: http://www.jensengallery.com/

To see more of Pip Cheshire's work (including Auckland's newly planned Q Theatre and the 'House at Takapuna Clifftop', one of our other favourites): http://www.cheshirearchitects.com/

Here's a little tease of something that's coming up in our April/May issue (out in the first week of April). It's a home we've actually featured before, in 1981 in our previous incarnation as NZ Home & Building magazine, but it's so good we couldn't resist featuring it again. It's the home of Queenstown architect Murray Cockburn, a John Lautner/Sound of Music mashup that we reckon is one of the most refreshing homes we've ever seen:

You'll be able to see more of Paul McCredie's pics of Murray's place in our April issue. It'll be worth the wait, we promise! In the meantime, you can view more of Murray's work at this location:


The latest issue of San Francisco-based Dwell magazine is a focus on Australian and New Zealand homes, with the coverline "Why are the World's Best Houses in Australia and New Zealand?"

New Zealand architects are prominently featured: there's an eight-page feature on Bronwen Kerr and Pete Ritchie's home near Queenstown (featured in HOME New Zealand in our February/March 2008 issue), as well as homes by Strachan Group Architects (a Mangawhai home that was a finalist in our Home of the Year award in 2005), Stevens Lawson, and Herbst Architects.

You can view the Kerr Ritchie feature here:


And you can see more of Pete and Bronwen's Drift Bay house by viewing Paul McCredie's photographs on their site:


Not all the features from this issue have been posted on the Dwell site, so you might just have to buy the mag!

Art collectors Jim and Mary Barr have conducted a quick compare-and-contrast of the artworks in two of the homes in our latest issue: that of Auckland art dealer Michael Lett's Karangahape Road apartment and Wellington art dealer Hamish McKay's Kapiti Coast home.

Michael's apartment isn't an architectural piece -it's on the upper floor of the Edwardian building that also houses his gallery - but it's an interesting experiment in how a space can be occupied and personalised without shifting the walls around. He recently had interior designer Katie Lockhart add yellow floors and salmon-pink details. Here's the opening spread of our article, with photographs by Derek Henderson.

Hamish McKay's place is a very different story, a fantastic mid-century home designed by little-known architect Reginald N. Uren. It seems like a simple wood-and-glass box, but is surprisingly complex inside. Here's the opening spread; the photograph is by Patrick Reynolds.

Here's the link to Jim and Mary's blog.


Here's our latest cover, featuring a house


Here's our latest cover, featuring a house in the Waikato by Lance and Nicky Herbst of Herbst Architects. We agonise over many of our covers, but this image from our shoot by Becky Nunes was a really easy choice. We all like it ... now we just have to wait for the public verdict when the sales figures start rolling in. The sculpture is by Anton Parsons.
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