Recently, the annual New Zealand Designers Institute celebrated NZ achievement in design with their “Best Awards”, showcasing only the best in graphic, spatial, product, and interactive enterprise - and this year, as any, did not disappoint. Much like the NZ Music Awards and the Halbergs, the Best Awards are the oscars of NZ brand and marketing design work. And I wanted to note how aesthetic as fuck some of the winners have been.
Without being too out-there, I’m pretty thoroughly interested in anything that sparks some imagination, a deep sense of belonging, and a drive to win these awards somehow clicks with me. These awards put some of the greatest marketing and design masterminds in one room together to celebrate pure joy in aesthetics.
It's all broken down into the four segments to showcase graphic, spatial, product, and interactive design.
Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards are divvied out to the shortlist of finalists, some of which 120% deserve it, all of which are Kiwi-created. Fair warning, it would get very list-ey if I were to mention all the designers (so, a quick congrats to everyone involved), but it's hard to ignore how well so many of our favourite restaurants and hospitality organisations did. With a cheeky look at the wining and dining side of the awards, let me run you through what you need to know.
Spatial prizes where dished out to those with only the most appealing of décor, not to mention setting. Our friends at Supreme Seafarers and designer Al Keating won gold for their Coffee Supreme Ltd. self promotion, boxing up their Six Barrels Soda coffee syrup. Classic Coffee Supreme reds and whites contrast in neat juxtaposition; Supreme packaging also came in as a finalist for their clean white bean bags. Al was also creative director for Coffee Supreme’s Good One in Ponsonby, coming in as finalist for their brand identity with their classic Instagram-worthy yellow and white decor. Close neighbors Little Easy came in as finalists for their rustic wooden interior (also maybe for popping a fat VW kombi van in the middle of the restaurant), while Seafarers/Ostro won gold for their large brand identity and environmental graphics (a landmark in the Britomart scene), along with Ostro itself winning with Fearon Hay Architects, a silver for their interior.
Inhouse delivered silver also, for Seafarers/Ostro brand design and menu fittings - sporting the now classic Seafarers logo. Ctrl space ltd. snuck a gold medal for their spacious interior design of Charlie & George, and Cheshire architects stole gold, silver, and bronze for Ortolana, Esplanade, and Miss Clawdy respectively for their stunning interiors, along with bronze for Mexico Ellerslie for their use of bright colour. The Sugar Club also took a cheeky gold for their entire design, while newcomers Better Burger snuck in as finalists - that neon sign stands proud in the middle of Britomart, and couldn't be ignored.
Baduzzi was awarded bronze for their bar design, and silver for their small brand identity. The same people that brought you their menus also ran away with silver for their branding and packaging of Rogue Society Gin. Competing with that, Stolen Rum took silver for their bottle design. So yeah, hospo businesses killed it, not to mention the design of the Lion Offices came in as a finalist for their reception space, also provided with a bronze for their hopt sodas. All Good Organics competed, taking silver for the branding of their flavoured sparkling waters, as well as being finalists with their “Lemmy” lemonade along with the Special Group for small brand identity, packaging and graphic design.
Standouts? Definitely anything within the Seafarers building. Ostro killed it with everything from their architecture to uniforms. Supreme’s branding is on point and Good One could be considered unlucky to not have taken an award away with them on the night, even though Supreme supplies coffee roasters Nice Day who took away a Bronze award. Stoked for the guys over at Stolen, along with those at Cheshire Design (behind Ortolana) for creating something beautiful; those eye-catching dangling light fixtures are consistently giving diners sore necks.
These awards are meant to be a celebration of everything kiwi designers have achieved.
I’ve only taken a few examples of anything to do with wining and dining, but these awards really bring to light how slick some of our restaurant designs are, and just how creative New Zealanders can really be. Aesthetics in brand, space, and even the design of the little things really can bring out the best in some, and also be a game winner for others. Check out the Best Awards website here, and some other projects these champions have delivered on here, here, and here.
Now, check out the winners and finalists for your own eyes. In order of mention…
// Al Keating worked wonders with this self promotional packaging, Six Barrels Soda Coffee Syrup //
// Good One - Douglas Street's favourite yellow and white coffee roasters //
// Little Easy boasts monster queues for good reason //
// Seafarers/Ostro cleaned up with their brand identity, designs, logos, architecture and all around excellence //
// Charlie & George has one of the lightest interiors around, orange light compliments the bay on white style //
// Them light fittings though - Ortolana //
// Something about the jigsaw style of these shelves stands out at The Esplanade //
// One of our favourites, Miss Clawdy features for its awesome interior - gotta love that logo //
// Mexico Ellerslie almost transports you to the streets of Cabo //
// The Sugar Club on point //
// Baduzzi killing it on the table features and bar setup //
// NZ's own Rogue Society gin winning for packaging and brand //
// Stolen Rum also came in as finalists for their coffee and cigarettes rum //
// Lion reception, yes, that is a bar //
// Hopt was Lion's new non-alcoholic drink that took NZ by storm //
// All Good Organics & Sparkling (you might have seen the blood orange) and Lemmy - childishly creative //
// Supplied by Supreme, Nice Day is tucked away in a hole-in-the-wall on Durham Lane //
All Photo Cred to bestawards.co.nz