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Urbis Design Day – A Round Up

Urbis Design Day has been going for many years now and if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some pretty designs on my feed last Saturday. Urbis is about local designers, showrooms and venues pairing up with creatives to make cool, interactive installations. This year’s creatives included street artists, a French patisserie (macarons), a landscape designer, a fashion designer, screen printing, footwear, 3d artist. There was also plenty of coffee, edible treats, and wine. My kind of day.


I’ve been attending Urbis Design Day for a while now and in 2009 my girlfriends and family celebrated my hen’s party (bachelorette party) at Urbis Design Day.


Urbis took a year off last year and this year they came back with a 2 day event. Friday was just for registered design professionals and Saturday’s version was for public with $30 tickets (or two tickets for $50).


This year I tagged along with my sister Joey and her friends. We started just after 10am and finished up after 3pm, although the event didn’t finish until 5pm. In hindsight, I should have gone back to some of my favourite sites for seconds.


We started at ECC which is next door to my work. Landscape designer Xanthe White teamed up with local fashion designer Ingrid Starnes at the ECC showroom to make a beautiful display.


There were many displays at the ECC/White Studios location and it was a little overwhelming.


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Resene’s dream wall was a fun, crowd-sourced installation. Something about writing on the wall and anonymously sharing deeply personal, funny and larger than life day dreams really appealed. I could have spent much longer at this wall and I’d love to see this concept encouraged on a public scale.


Blum’s innovative drawer system was fun to use. Turning the act of opening a drawer into space technology. It’s the kind of thing you’d want in your house if you won the lottery.

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At Studio Italia, I squealed at Hye Rim Lee’s rabbit artworks.

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Everyone swooned at the giant wheel of cheese and the delicious green olives.


An easy crowd favourite was across the road at Delonghi’s show room. With both coffee and macarons on offer to shed insight on our personalities, this was easily the most photographed showroom of the day.


The installation titled “Food Play” encouraged visitors to select a macaron (or two) from the floral display, eat it, guess the flavour and then match up their macaron with a personality description. It was fun. And delicious!


I had a chat with a Ma Cherie patisserie chef who was friendly and very passionate about her craft. There were plenty of macarons and a friend said that they were giving away whole bouquets of macarons at the end of the day! I wish I’d gone back!


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Street artists BMD’s monochromatic installation at Artisan Flooring was freaking amazing. The interior of this mini house was illustrated across every surface. It felt like you were in a cartoon house, but better. Some aspects required the viewer to stand at exactly the right angle. As a graphic designer with some illustration tricks up her sleeve I was floored. But I think everyone who walked through this space appreciated the visual trickery. I would have loved to hang out in this space on my own for longer.

Down at IMO, we were impressed at their very cool office in the centre of a warehouse. With aesthetics of glasshouse/fishbowl and shipping container the result was cozy and open at the same time. Their self proclaimed passions of good food, wine, coffee, design, architecture and furniture did not disappoint. IMO easily had the best food (pulled pork sliders, barbecued bangers and French pastries) and booze (bubbles, wine and beer). I loved how they had a huuuuuge table and encouraged visitors to “SIT, EAT, DRINK, RELAX”. As you can see from the photo, people did exactly that. The table was busy with people taking a moment to relax during an otherwise busy day.

At James Dunlop Textiles, Miss Moonshine was parked up front. I’ve been following Miss Moonshine on social media for a little while. I’m a fan of the American traveling barbecue circuit. Look out for these guys at a parking lot, market, festival, party or street corner near you. The boys and I tried their Jalapeno poppers which were spicier than they had anticipated – their chili guy having given them a variety of pepper hotter than the average.

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We ended up at BoConcept who were doing an Instagram competition and had plenty of wine and a DJ. Highlight for us at this site was watching this kid checking out his own awesome dance moves in a reflection. If I didn’t feel weird about filming someone else’s kid, the dancing kid would be a serious Youtube sensation.

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The others left at this stage and I finished off my day with a glass of wine and a salad from Cool Food downstairs. I toddled off home soon after. Satisfied.

Urbis Design Day tips:

  • Start at 10am so that you can take your time through the 13 sites.
  • Pack light!
  • Most sites are interactive. Let your inner child come out and play.
  • Don’t be shy about the freebies, there’s enough for all.
  • Wear sensible shoes.
  • Take a friend that appreciates interior design.
  • Delegate a sober driver or arrange alternative transport.

For more information about Urbis Design Day, check out their website here.



Transport is free on the day, but the taxi metre was interesting.

This entry was posted in: Events


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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