Best Design Awards recognises creative reuse catalysed by Rekindle

Innovative and sustainable reuse of MDF and Kevlar sails recognised in line-up of Best Design finalists


Two of the five design teams that worked to develop new uses for undervalued resources as part of Rekindle’s Resource: Rise Again initiative have been selected as finalists in the ‘Sustainable Product Design’ category at the Best Design Awards

Designers from across the country joined forces with Rekindle to combat waste from the business sector, which currently goes to landfill in unchecked quantities. Resource: Rise Again called on designers to investigate responses to this waste by diverting it from landfill through innovative and sustainable reuse.

A team of 3 staff at AUT’s School of Art and Design, as well as Clark Bardsley Design with Mitchener Architecture & Design, have been recognised by the Best Design Awards for their respective celebrations of undervalued materials through design and object-making.

Comprising Dr Amabel Hunting, Anke Nienhuis and Diana Albarran, the AUT Art and Design team presented ‘Navigator’, a design solution addressing the waste of high-value, hi-tech Kevlar racing sails – a waste stream of significant scale in a city of 60,000 sailors. They have repurposed this material by transforming it into beautiful, ready-to-assemble light shades.

Clark Bardsley, director of Clark Bardsley Design, and Andrew Mitchener, one of two directors at Mitchener Architecture & Design, brought a cross-disciplinary collaboration to the problem of MDF waste, which is a high-volume and low-value waste stream.  

In the making of many kitchens, MDF laminates are cut by a CNC cutter, resulting in commonly shaped offcuts that would normally go to landfill at huge scale. This team’s unique design response involves intercepting this material at the primary cutting phase of the MDF board. Not only does this save time in the process, it also increases the value of what would have been waste by transforming these offcuts into a range of design objects – from finger-jointed screens through to boxes. 

Resource: Rise Again was a New Zealand first for establishing a practical programme that supported designers to address commercial waste, and Rekindle is delighted that these two teams’ efforts have been recognised in the 'Sustainable Product Design' category.

As a social enterprise where profits are dedicated to furthering development of creative work that has an impact on waste and resourcefulness, Rekindlecontinues to build upon the work achieved through Resource: Rise Again with its latest initiative, Resourceful Ōtautahi.

Resourceful Ōtautahi focuses on encouraging the use of resourceful skills and undervalued local materials through a series of workshops, where the public can learn traditional crafts, such as spoon-carving, basket-weaving, rope-making and furniture-making.

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5 Oct 2017

Rekindle is a Christchurch based social enterprise that creates opportunities for resourcefulness. We focus on transforming undervalued resources through care, connection and craft; this being the opposite of wastefulness.