Design by Delight

Who knew that there was a Daffodil Capital of New Zealand, let alone that it is Carterton?

Fresh from visiting UK friends staying among the grapes in Martinborough, Miss M and I stumbled across the annual Daffodil Festival.  How joyful it was.  Here was small town New Zealand still full of optimism.

The best book shop in the region, Almo’s Books, was busy as.  As well as having a great range of children’s books (my grandaughter Isla is about to celebrate her first year on earth) I found Michael Smythe’s new book New Zealand By Design.

Buy it at once.

Michael ends his wonderful book by saying that New Zealand design’s point of difference from Italy, Scandinavia, Germany and the USA, is ‘Design by Delight’.

Whimsy, humour, joy, surprise, delight, or whatever we call it, seems to me, in these straightened times, to be more important than ever.

One architect who clearly gets that is Seattle-based Tom Kundig.  I’ve just finished reading (looking at) a book of his work and some of his designs had me laughing out loud.

My favourite was his Brain House with its dog surveillance window.

We architects are being pummelled by councils, urban designers and quantity surveyors who are by and large, not responsive to the concept of delight.

A small contribution we made recently was a birdhouse atop a Tanapole in Wilton.

The animal that moved in alas, was a possum, but no matter it’s still delightful.