Material Matter Exhibition: 2nd Year 2013. Tutor: Shane Inder

Homewares brand Douglas and Bec teamed up with Auckland’s AUT University earlier this year. The result? A rocking egg timer, a wooden and metal periscope that resembles Swiss cheese, an indoor washing line complete with giant wooden pegs and 17 other objects handcrafted by product design students and exhibited recently in Auckland.

Douglas and Bec designer and owner Rebecca Dowie spent seven weeks mentoring second-year students, who were asked to design an object, a light or a piece of furniture using mixed materials, in the art of handmade homewares design.

“I encouraged the designers to push their concepts and their materials further and further. Good design is not about complacency or competency. It is about going against the grain, pushing a concept beyond the bounds of reality,” says Dowie. “The beautiful and deceptively simple pieces in this exhibition are the result of imagination, experimentation and determination. It has been such a wonderful and rewarding experience.”

“A well-rounded product design graduate needs to be able to turn out an item for mass production, but they also need to use their hands to make an original artisan piece,” says Shane Inder, senior lecturer at AUT’s department of industrial design and innovation. “There is often a stronger perception of value in the handmade, and that is an understanding we want our graduates to have.”

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