Govett-Brewster Art Gallery wins gold at Best Awards

Len Lye's Wind Wand marks at night
Len Lye's Wind Wand kinetic sculpture on New Plymouth's coastal walkway. Photo Bryan James
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has won gold for Large Brand Identity at this year’s Designers Institute Best Design Awards.


The Best Awards are a prestigious annual national showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product, interactive and motion design, with work entered from both New Zealand and Australia.

Shabnam Shiwan, Creative Director for the project: "Our brief was to position the Govett-Brewster as a premier art destination, not just locally, but globally, and to establish it as the home of the visionary New Zealand artist Len Lye".

"The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is a ground-breaking art institution, renowned for its strong point of view on art and dedicated support of artists in New Zealand," says Shiwan.

"We decided the brand identity could not be too reserved. It required a distinctively clear voice, an attitude that cut across a broad demographic. We wanted to create something iconic for the Govett-Brewster, something meaningful that they could take ownership of for years to come. Our answer was to make Len Lye’s work central to the brand identity."

Len Lye’s iconic Wind Wand is a 48 metre high kinetic sculpture located on the waterfront of downtown New Plymouth in New Zealand. The artwork includes a tube of red fibre-optic material that cuts starkly across the sky and can bend up to 20 metres in the wind. This kinetic movement traces dramatic red ‘marks’ in the air, a phenomena that can be seen best at night.

The sculpture was photographed in complete darkness, with the movement capturing this series of ‘marks’, forming the basis of the brand identity. Each mark in the brand identity can be used singularly or combined to create a unique graphic pattern. This can be read simply as an energetic and joyful expression, or on a deeper level, with the idea of uniqueness and experimentation, both central to Len Lye’s creative ethos.

Shabnam Shiwan: "Removing unnecessary complexity creates a robust visual language and design system. We delivered a brand identity that is easy to implement, allowing for cohesiveness within the overall brand structure, and ensuring the artwork and the artist remain the focus."

Earlier this month, AGDA Design Awards (Australian Graphic Design Association) announced the Govett-Brewster as a finalist in two categories. The awards will be announced in November.

Following the opening of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 2015 audience attendance is up 239%, with 150,000 visitors coming through the doors in its first year of operation, a third more than predicted.

In addition to exceptional visitor numbers, the New Plymouth District Council won a national award for Best Creative Place at the Local Government New Zealand Excellence Awards, recognising the contribution arts and culture initiatives can make towards creating a more prosperous city or region.

The world’s largest independent guide book publisher Lonely Planet has officially announced Taranaki as the 2nd best region in the world to visit in its Best in Travel 2017 publication, highlighting the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre as 'a deliciously offbeat new gallery’.

Govett-Brewster's new addition of the Len Lye Centre, designed by Patterson Associates, is a finalist in the prestigious 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards' Culture category with 17 other buildings from Singapore, Australia, Japan, Poland, China, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, USA and Italy.

Creative Director: Shabnam Shiwan, Osborne Shiwan

Design Director: Leah Surynt

Design Team: Jason Treweek, Rachael Jackman, Anushka Bihari, Lloyd Osborne

Contributors: Sons & Co, Bryan James, Nicole David-Rees



For high-res images or further enquiries please contact:
Kelly Loney

Communications Co-ordinator

M: +275 839 2660



About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980).

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day – the sort she had become familiar with on her global travels.

The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.

The greatly expanded museum re-launched on 25 July 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre. With its curved exterior walls of mirror-like stainless steel, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is the country’s first example of destination architecture linked to contemporary art.

This latest addition to the Govett-Brewster – the Len Lye Centre – is New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist, the pioneering filmmaker and kinetic sculptor, Len Lye.

In 1964 Len Lye said “Great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art”.

The Len Lye Centre building, adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is an example of innovative thinking in both engineering and architecture. The architects are Patterson Associates, one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised architectural firms.

The new Len Lye Centre features Lye’s work in kinetic sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography, batik and writing, as well as related work by contemporary and historical artists.

It also houses a state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema – a welcoming environment for audiences to experience Len Lye’s films, local and international cinema, arthouse and experimental films, and regular film festival programming.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery building in New Plymouth closed in April 2013 for earthquake strengthening, compliance, upgrades and construction of the Len Lye Centre.


About Len Lye
A visionary New Zealander, an inspirational artist, a pioneer of film; Len Lye is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from New Zealand.

Len Lye was an experimental filmmaker, poet, painter, kinetic sculptor and creative visionary ahead of his time. Most of his works were so revolutionary that technology literally had to catch up to him – meaning much of Lye’s work was not realised in his own lifetime.

Lye’s iconic 45-metre kinetic sculpture Wind Wand sways gently on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway. The Wind Wand that glows red at night, is the first large outdoor sculpture to be built posthumously from his plans and drawings.

In 1977 Lye returned to his homeland to oversee the first New Zealand exhibition of his work at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. He called it the “swingiest art gallery of the antipodes”.

Shortly before his death in 1980, Lye and his supporters established the Len Lye Foundation, to which he gifted his entire collection. His collection was gifted on the condition that a suitable and permanent home be created in which his works could be fully realised.


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Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

26 Oct 2016

Interests The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand's premier contemporary art museum and home to the collection of modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye. Admission is free.