Events, Graphic Design
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What’s the deal with Urbis Designday?

Last Saturday we went to Urbis Designday where 12 showrooms collaborate with 12 designers from fashion and design industries.

We had an awesome day, saw some interesting things, drank some yummy things and tasted some wonderful things. Good value at $30 per ticket (or 2 for $50). We figured we ate and drank an average of $10 each at each of the sites and including the taxis in between, we would have enjoyed $150 worth of Urbis.

Here are some of my photos and a bit of a run down…

0. Media Design School / HP Future Designers at MINI Garage (HQ)

This was were picked up their wristbands for the day if they hadn’t received them in the post. While this wasn’t considered one of the exhibits or a number on the circuit, this was actually one of my favourites. We spent a while here watching the Media Design School 3D projects. As you enter a big inflatable room you are given headphones and a Kapiti white chocolate and raspberry ice cream. Similar concept to a silent disco, there are 2 screens showing different projects and you can tune in your headphones to either screen to get audio.

Cookies & Scream was my favourite film and you can view it online here. Don’t worry, it’s short and sweet.

Cartoons and ice cream were a hit with the kids too. Can you believe it!?

1. Automation Associates / Matter

The most interactive installation of the day, but the queue to get into the booths were a bit of a turn off. Not their fault I guess! We ended up hanging around in the middle area and upstairs for ages trying to decided whether or not the queue was worth it. In the end, curiosity got the better of us. 3 coloured boxes to enter to experiment with sound, touch and sight.

Cupcakes and Absoute vodka drinks provided upstairs.

I loved watching the white person stand still among white mannequins only to jump and growl when people walked past.

2. Häfele / Esther Diamond

Esther Diamond tea towels on display. Most of the showroom was the same as previous years. Which makes me wonder, do furniture fittings have seasons or fashion trends?

Häfele had some of the best nibbles of the day. The meatballs were scrumptious and there were also chicken satay, crudités and dips. Yummy bulk-made mojitos which I love love loved.

Prawn and salsa spoon.

Mojito man!

3. Fisher & Paykel

From a foodie’s point of view, Social Kitchen was the winner on the day. Chefs Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen of the Engine Room, furniture designer Sam Haughton of IMO and design studio Alt Group together with Fisher & Paykel make up this team. The entire back wall showcased a slideshow of products and dishes.

The 8 dishes to sample were:

  1. Earl Grey biscuit into specially brewed Gingernut tea
  2. Riesling sherbet
  3. Manuka honey injected fig
  4. Beetroot and horseradish ice cream in waffle cone
  5. Fish and chip (tuna on a crisp)
  6. Gazpacho
  7. Toffee apple
  8. Garlic butter injected bread bites

The savoury beetroot and horseradish ice cream was the favourite based on taste although the garlic bread was clearly popular as the crowd swarmed every time a fresh batch arrived.

4. Designer Rugs / Corporate Culture / Nathan Goldsworthy curating the Kiwi Icons rug range from (Dick Frizzell, Boh Runga, Kevin Roberts, Zambesi, Max Gimblett, Kate Sylvester and Codi Design)

Pretty rugs, trees used as table legs, more macaroons than you can shake a stick at. Codi’s “Cardinale” rug was my favourite.

5. Poggenpohl / Make Something

A kitchen design showroom but all I remember was beer, hotdogs and tools, tools. tools. I wonder if they were trying to appeal to a slightly more masculine market?

Look! A ceramic stovetop with a concave surface for your wok to sit in.

6. Furniture Lab / Dulux / We Love Inc.

A Rube Goldberg contraption showcasing Dulux paint in collaboration with Furniture Lab and We Love Inc. I don’t know, something about a Rube Goldberg contraption brings out the kid in all of us. It’s exciting to watch with the anticipation of stuff happening in a linear way as well as the chance of failure. It’s like watching a really long set of dominos fall in line. The contraption required 5 volunteers to inject paint into tubes via syringe and the show went through several cycles while we were there.

A generous wheel of cheese provided for punters to dig at and the signature cocktail was a Dark ‘n Stormy – dark rum and ginger beer over ice.

I’ve always loved this Navy chair design and it was cool to see that there is a plastic version made in collaboration with Coca-Cola. The plastic version is made from 111 recycled plastic bottles and is called the 111 Navy Chair. At about $500 per chair it is half the price of the original aluminium design. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to pay $1000 for a metal chair than $500 for a plastic chair. Hypothetically speaking of course.

7. Kohler / Salasai

Fully clothed models dressed by Salasai in bathtubs, a huge chocolate fountain complete with marshmallows, hard boiled sweets in beautifully crafted hand basins that cost more than your car.

A pretty basin for my future bathroom.

8. Essenze / NZ Design Collective (Te Rongo Kirkwood, David Trubridge, Anzac Tasker, Peter Collis and Brogen Avril)

Nice cheese. Tried Moa beer…not a fan.

Pretty table for my future office.

Loved the idea of these bowls: made from the useless macademia husk. But at $250 for a small bowl, who buys this stuff?

9. Antipodes Design Store / Luxaflex / Taylor Boutique

Bubbles and french crepes!

DIY Bearbrick?

The Taylor fashion show was fun to watch and the models did the whole “Heidi Klum dead eyes” thing really well.

10. Halo NZ and Trelise Cooper Interiors

Maybe we were over it as this was our last stop of the day (we started at number 11) but we weren’t feeling this one. It was cramped and just felt like a normal shop with some few royal embellishments.

11. ECC / Scrap Wall

Some really cool stuff at ECC and only mildly (ok insanely) overpriced.

Because we started and ended here, we were here first thing in the morning for coffee and biscotti and also for cheese and beer in the afternoon.

The drum theme was cool, not sure if these were put into use at Urbis Designday, but this contraption looked like metal balls fall into the middle and then onto electric drum pads.

I want one of these lamps, maybe in black or red though. It would be my reading lamp. Can’t you just imagine positioning the most comfortable reclining chair under this light for reading?

12. Design Denmark / Sylvia Sanford

They were serving pastries with gin and tonic with here for breakfast. An interesting mix! A bit too early for G & T when we got there, but I’m sure they were a hit later on in the day.

These coloured toilet rolls were $5.50. This wall right here is $770 worth of loo paper.

Urbis Designday Highlights:

  1. The Social Kitchen.
  2. Matter exhibit.
  3. Rube Goldberg paint machine.

Urbis Designday Tips:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes.
  2. Pack light take a small bag of essentials. Or no bag at all if you can. The Urbis bag you are given is sizeable and gets filled up throughout the day with all sorts of things.
  3. Pace yourself.
  4. Keep a steady pace. There are 12 sites to get through as well as the headquarters. If you start at 10 and finish at 5pm, that’s roughly half an hour at each place. We stayed a lot longer at some places so had to breeze others. There have been years when I haven’t finished the circuit only to be super disappointed that I’d missed out on the best one of the day.
  5. Keep your group fairly small. We started with lots of people, but as you are all going in 1 direction, it wasn’t a big deal to split forward from the group if you got bored with a place.
  6. Have breakfast before you start the day.
  7. Don’t drive in. There’s way too much free and delicious booze to be had.
This entry was posted in: Events, Graphic Design


I am Genie, a graphic designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Whanganui, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala and our two rabbits, Kobe and Bento. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person.

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