Forget negative space, the space that makes the creatively inclined among us feel most at home returtned to Auckland last month and #Lemonfacedesign were of course in attendance. Semi Permanent, the international symposium for design in all its glorious forms, was back to infuse us creatives with their annual dose of inspiration.
This year's speaker lineup celebrated the fact that good design has never been more valued as a currency, and those who apply a creative lens to the way they view the world have never been more sought after. The minds leading the design teams of some of the most influential global companies – Ana Arriola, Director of Product Design at Facebook; Amber Cartwright, Design Manager at Airbnb; Erik Klimczak, Creative Director at Uber; Hector Ouilhet, Head of Design at Google Search – showcased the calibre of this year's event.
Joining them were the likes of science fiction artist Lucy McRae who has created an electronic tattoo, a range of emotional sensing dresses and swallowable perfume; Hayden Cox, founder and designer of Haydenshapes Surfboards who made his first surfboard at 15 and went on to break the rules of surfboard design; Irma Boom, Amsterdam-based graphic designer with penchant for book making, who sits on the Yale University School of Art faculty and who's work features in MoMA's permanent collection; Sissel Tolaas, who's multidisciplinary approach to the sense of smell has led her to build up the smellscapes of 52 international cities, become a founding member of the International Sleep Science and Technology Association and launch the world's first Smell Memory Kit; and Michael Parekowhai, Professor in Fine Arts who injects humour into his explorations of scale, space and time to create pieces that have resonated and challenge the perceptions of many people across his three decade career.
Semi Permanent is all a bit mad really. It's a dark fishbowl. It's exhausting and it makes you feel like a sponge. And by the end of day 2 we were ready to be wrung out into a big bucket of creative goodness. It's fab and it always makes us want to take on the world again. It's a tonic, an elixir and a reason to carry on producing work that was better than the work we produced last year. That's what it's all about surely? Ha!
Every attendee gets something different out of Semi Permanent. In no particular order here are some of our highlights:
Valentin Ozich who had copius amounts of entrepreneurial advice, sharing his mistakes, his successes and his struggles. He was humble, and in turn he humbled his audience. Genius of a man!
Dean Poole from Alt Group – who was both hilariously creative but also so incredibly switched on. The work speaks for itself really, it's quirky quirky and smashes the mould. Check out this silo theatre ad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mHDGaQ1KTA and the website http://silotheatre.co.nz
Dean told us he loves words and a lot of his stuff is around words and shapes – he sees faces in letters (weird I know!) Check out his other work for Auckland Art Gallery and Te Oro which is a multi-purpose space where young people and the local community can perform, practise and learn the arts, express their creativity and talents, and celebrate their cultures. Clever, clever man!
Michael Parekowhai – the artist who produced 'The Lighthouse' which is just that – a house filled with light. Its exterior takes the form of a traditional 1950s New Zealand home a time when people were building their Kiwi dreams, based on a house on the Eden-Roskill border. The exterior colours reference the site and environment on Queens Wharf and the space between the sea and the sky. Incredible in the flesh! Inside the house is a statue of Captain cook looking ‘pensive’ why?! Draw your own conclusion I suppose. But the most special part were the neon lights which formed the southern hemispheres constallations. Its an empty house full of dreams, aspirations and something higher then onself. A work of incredible, thought provoking beauty.
Semi Permanent you did it again. We skipped in and we staggered out. And we'll do it all over again next year too.