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Best Design Awards honour the stand outs in retail design

The Best Design Awards were held on Friday night, honouring those who’ve made outstanding contributions to New Zealand’s design scene. Lonely Ponsonby and Barkers can bask in the success of being the retailers who snaffled two of the prestigious Purple Pin Awards.

It was a glittering (and purple) affair at this year’s Best Design Awards, an evening that confirmed a few things for us: designers will forever drink us under the table, balloons are always a fun time (even more so when they come shaped as Purple Pins), and New Zealand design is at the top of its game.

Here are the two big retail award winners of the night:


Lonely Ponsonby, by Rufus Knight
Purple Pin winner, Emerging Designer (Gold), Retail – Up to 150m2 (Gold)

Beyond the stark shopfront of Lonely Heart’s flagship store in Auckland lies an equally pared-back retail fitout, that works equally well, design-wise. Sandblasted marble walls,salvaged timber parquetry and accents of gold bring the layers and luxury.

Lonely Hearts, along with its lingerie brand Lonely, already has fans in France, Japan and Australia, and panel judges called the design a “superb, international quality fitout that would hold its own in any fashion district”.

Studio: Knight Associates Ltd.
Creative Directors: Rufus Knight, Steve Ferguson
Contributors: Hamish Stirrat, Stuart Robinson, Paul Nannestad, Oliver Booth


Barkers Redesign, by Switch and AND
Purple Pin winner

Like a true gentleman, the 42-year old Barkers brand has quietly been polishing its look in recent years. 

Since 2010, the Barkers team has quietly been working to polish its overall branding and last year the focus was turned to its design identity. Working with Switch and AND, Barkers set out to a bring a more tailored experience to its customers to reflect what was selling on the racks. 

Concept stores were built, paying homage to their geographical locations – Barkers Garage draws on Hamilton’s petrol head heritage; Lambton Quay’s Chambers is a nod to the Beehive; and Auckland’s No. 1 High Street invites customers for the full experience: stroll in for a suit fitting, grab a coffee from onsite Burrs & Grind cafe, and finish off with a sharp haircut from the Barkers Groom Room upstairs. 

The website, catalogues and branding were given a high fashion and editorially-driven makeover, bringing the 42-year-old brand into the here and now. Barkers doesn’t disclose its financial figures, but managing director Jamie Whiting does confirm that financially 2014 was “a very good year.”

Studio: Switch and AND
Creative directors: Chris Jones, Jamie Whiting, Adrian Nancekivell
Design team: Paul Biddle, Glenn Cracknell, Bevan Tonks
Contributors: Kylee Trebilco, Alyssa Longville, William Odes, Mabel Gong, Stephen Tilley, Brandon Beattie, Duncan Grieve, Big Colour Imaging, Senior Construction, Brian Harris Quality Woodwork, Solutionists

What are the Best Design Awards?

The awards celebrate the best of New Zealand design, and are run by the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

Entries are split into seven disciplines: Graphic, Spatial, Public Good, Product, Interactive, Ngā Aho, and Best Effect.

A Gold Pin is awarded to the best designs in the categories which make up each of the disciplines. The best of each discipline is awarded the coveted Purple Pin. 

The Ngā Aho award recognises a meaningful collaboration between Māori and non-Māori in design, and responds to New Zealand’s indigenous culture, heritage and sense of place.

The Best Effect award celebrates design that has produced a measurable effect on the success of an organisation or product.

This is an edited version of a story that originally appeared on Idealog. See the full story and list of Best Design Awards winners here.

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