Sustainable Design Exhibition

27 May 2014

Sustainability is at the heart of a new exhibition by a group of Massey University industrial design students opening this Friday.

Exhibition piece showing a wooden peg planted in the ground with a plant growing out of it.

Rethinking domestic laundry (detail), by Glenn Catchpole


The third-year students have come up with novel ways to produce, consume and behave more sustainably and their ideas will be on show for the public from 30 May–6 June at the Central Library.

Presented by the Council and Massey’s College of Creative Arts, the exhibition is entitled Unpacking Sustainability. It explores the students’ design solutions to the trade-offs required when moving towards more sustainable industry.

Massey University Industrial Design Lecturer Matthijs Siljee says the students have been challenged to unpack popular misconceptions about what is and what isn’t ‘sustainable’ and in some cases they have looked at the sustainability of packaging itself.

“Many of the things we buy and use can be more sustainable if they are designed with less harmful materials, leave less waste or give better social outcomes.

“But our students have found that solving one challenge may introduce problems in other areas. For example, removing toxic materials may make some products less durable or recycling materials may be too expensive for some companies.”

In supporting the exhibition, we’re keen to encourage innovation and creativity that fits with the city’s vision Wellington Towards 2040: Smart Capital and the recently announced 8 Big Ideas.

The Council’s Chief Executive, Kevin Lavery, says this clever and practical design work by the Massey students can lead to innovative Wellington-based businesses in the future.

“We want to promote sustainable, green economies and technologies for a smart capital. Sustainable development is much more likely to happen in partnership, which is why we want to do as much as we can to help entrepreneurs and start-ups. It’s also a way to help reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions while contributing to economic growth.”

He says the Council’s focus is on areas where we have advantages including great design, education and creativity. “Working with Massey’s College of Creative Arts on this exhibition will contribute to better connections with the tertiary sector and help to bring great ideas to life.”

About 15 projects will be on display in the exhibition, which has also received support from TransPacific Waste Management.

Unpacking Sustainability can be viewed on the mezzanine floor at the Library during their opening hours. Entry is free.