Beginning in 2011 the inaugural competition challenged professionals and emerging designers to come up with creative concepts for chairs using Formica laminates. In 2013 the challenge was issued to recreate the humble Formica laminate table as part of the 100 year celebrations of the Formica brand.
Auckland designer Hugh Worth was awarded first place in the professional category of the competition with the 'Red Herringbone' – a striking and colourful table comprising angular pieces of Formica AR+ gloss laminate. "The vivid colours and herringbone patterning will enliven the dreariest of dinner parties," says Worth. He drew inspiration from his own family, some of whom he noted were having difficulty finishing their veggies – "fussy children will be so enthralled they won't even realise they've just eaten all their greens." His use of colour was applauded by the judges, especially red, the corporate colour of the Formica brand.
Recent graduate Frances Fraser of Wellington created the 'Time Table', inspired by the rings of a tree representing the incremental growth and strength in trust, and understanding it builds over time through shared meal-time experiences with family and friends. "I wanted my table to be about time because that is what we invest when we gather together to share a meal and conversation," says Fraser. "Also, the concept of time has an overlap with the durability and enduring appeal of Formica, as well as with their 100-year anniversary."
A diverse and high-calibre judging panel – Renee Hytry Derrington, Ron Sang and David Trubridge – will be reviewing the entries for the 2015 competition, ensuring that judging is to an extremely high international standard. The winners in each category will have their concepts brought to life through fabrication by local manufacturing specialists.
"Formica laminate has all the qualities of a versatile, trusted and respected material," says Richard Pollington, General Manager of Laminex New Zealand, the company that custodians the Formica brand in New Zealand. "The Formica Formations competition allows the New Zealand design community to do what it does best – create, inspire and excite.”
“Having highly specialised and industry respected professionals from both New Zealand and the US judging the Formica Formations design competition clearly exemplifies the integrity and support for our local design community,” says Richard.
There are two entry categories – professional architects and designers, and emerging architects and designers. Entries close on 31 July 2015, with submissions and further information available at www.formicaformations.co.nz. The winner's designs will be displayed at an official awards ceremony towards the end of 2015.