The 'new' New Zealand Design

April 17, 2019: Perspectives

Cultural cringe and tall poppy syndrome are dust: the new New Zealand design is original, experimental, confident, genuine and even eccentric.

Kiwi Property Benn Jaefixed 1

Across multiple industries, from interior design to fashion, we’re moving away from the tall poppy approach and injecting more confidence into our design.

Below, two creatives discuss this new approach to Kiwi design and how it has evolved in their own industries.


Scott Compton, interior design specialist at Warren and Mahoney

“Our geographic isolation has always made us creatively resourceful, but in the past decade we’ve really carved out a genuinely original identity. We’re braver and incorporating more flair into our design.

The modern New Zealand is introduced through the people and their personality. We’re redefining our places for the people who actually live here, not just those who visit us.

In workplace design, we now place greater emphasis on how a space will make you feel and consider how lighting, materials and acoustics can work together to bring about a feeling of belonging.

As a result, workplaces today reflect each company’s unique culture, and in general, are more genuine, personable and inviting, and not as transactional and exclusive.”

The 'new' New Zealand Design
The 'new' New Zealand Design

Sammy Salsa, fashion stylist

“We’re entering a new era of Kiwi design where we’re more inclined to be experimental and intuitive with materials, colours and textures. We take risks which leaves room for leading the pack in design.

We’re in such a small part of the globe but we produce some of the world’s best fashion designers. And now as we are so accessible to the rest of the world through social media, the next generation of Kiwi designers have a platform to showcase their talent on a universal level, instantly.

The designers I chose to feature in this photoshoot are a mix of emerging and established designers who I feel represent the real New Zealand when it comes to the forefront of design and concepts. The structure and craftsmanship of the clothing featured reflects the ground-breaking Kiwi designs around us.”

The 'new' New Zealand Design
The 'new' New Zealand Design
The 'new' New Zealand Design
The 'new' New Zealand Design