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City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

Past exhibition

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To: Sustainablity in Design

17 February–18 March 2007

ARTISTS David Cassells, Conscious Design, Frazer Ellis, Duncan Sargent, SubART, Tennant + Brown Architects, Jamin Vollebregt  

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To showcases recent Wellington design, including architectural, interior, furniture, and product design. It features individual designers and companies whose interests extend into production philosophies. The title is ironic, poking fun at those who bemoan change and prefer ‘the good old days’. 

Embracing change, the show argues that an environmentally friendly approach doesn’t mean compromising on good looks. It offers a number of design approaches in response to the question: ‘what is sustainability?’

David Cassells's prototype office chair is made of coir fibre, a waste product of the Solomon Islands copra (coconut husk) industry. Through design and local manufacture, it adds value to a Pacific island resource and provides an alternative to deforestation. Requiring only simple assemblage, so production can take place in the Islands, providing local employment.

Conscious Design are Stu Barr, Nathan Goldsworthy, and Hames Whitta. Their Tio Settee Chair has replaceable alternative fabric covers, extending its life. The covers are designed by top New Zealand fashion designers: Andrea Moore, World, and Zambesi.

Furniture maker Duncan Sargent experiments with sustainable materials. He develops wood-bending techniques that minimise waste.

SubART (Peter Ash, Emma Febvre-Richards, and Kate Linzey) explores the hazy territory between fine art and design within the domestic setting.

Tennent + Brown Architects were approached to design a refit a floor of Wellington Teachers’ Training College in Karori. Reusing materials—turning old lining boards into a wall feature—they reduced cost.

Designer Jamin Vollebregt challenges precepts of style, desire, and luxury. He remakes mass-produced products using one-off processes, challenging the distinction between the unique object and the multiple.