14.11.15 / AGDA Design Awards / Dinner Ceremony

AGDA Design Awards / Dinner Ceremony, Saturday 14 November 2015

Dinner Review

The 2015 AGDA Design Awards Dinner Ceremony was, for mine, the best in recent memory. The venue was fantastic, the MCs were hilarious, and the beer and wine were plentiful and delicious.

It’s quite a surreal feeling to dress up in your fanciest attire for a formal event that begins with you entering the mouth of a giant clown, but that’s exactly what the Luna Park Crystal Ballroom experience provided. The night began with a few cheeky welcome drinks upstairs on the mezzanine, overlooking the ball room with 28 perfectly laid tables in front of two huge screens either side of the stage with a giant pyramid of silk-screened boxes — thanks to Paul Garbett — stealing the show.

The evening kicked off with an intro video by Chris Doyle and Ian Haigh, who interviewed the general public about their thoughts on design, with the public consensus being that a graphic designer would win in a fight with a digital designer. The pair interviewed a few of the industry big wigs about their long winded concepts on design before introducing the MCs for the evening, Chris Doyle and Ian Haigh…

After a few introductions here and there, the night reached a sober note, with the acknowledgment of the tragedy that had taken place in Paris earlier in the day.

We then heard a few words from our outgoing President, Paul Van Barneveld, before welcoming our new fearless leader and/or dictator, Liz Grant. Liz’s first words as President were “Hello Wankers!” A fitting tribute to the topic of the debate that took place at the Forum earlier in the day.

The first acknowledgements for the night were a big thank you to our three judging panels along with the presentation of their judges’ choice selections. Stuart Geddes entry, Mongrel Rapture, was selected by both of our Kiwi judges, making it our only double up selection for 2015. Alt Group claimed two judges’ choice selections for Te Oro and FVEY respectively and they were joined by Klim Type Foundry and Sons & Co. which was clearly a sign of the Kiwi invasion to come. The Student Judges perhaps provided some of the best laughs of the night as Damian Hamilton time-travelled all the way from 1920 to make his selection, while Tim Saunders made one of the wisest decisions of his life to not answer the incoming call from Chris Doyle about his selection.

The first Pinnacle of the night came in the third category of the evening, Books, and was presented to Stuart Geddes for Mongrel Rapture. Not only did Stuart’s beard put Chris’s to shame, his entry put all the rest in their place, as Mongrel Rapture’s Pinnacle and two judges’ choice selections made it the single most awarded entry in 2015.

The Graphic Design category provided a new Awards first, where Chris Doyle presented an award to the one and only Chris Doyle, or was one of them one of our esteemed jurors, Mark Braddock? Perhaps we’ll never know. Studio Hi Ho claimed a Pinnacle for Whitlam Place, although their lack of attendance makes it really hard to write something nonsensical about their acceptance of the award.

The middle session of the evening was wrapped up with the Digital category, which saw Matt Arnold and Tim Kelleher of Sons & Co. break into a sweat as their two man relay team went up on stage to collected six distinctions in a row. Amazingly the pair were told to sit down when it came time to present the Pinnacle for the category as Chris Halloran was welcomed on stage for his Christopher Ireland website, which was also Zann St. Pierre’s Judge’s Choice.

After returning from the break, the Student Awards were acknowledged, and not content with Alt’s swag of awards so far, Dean Poole was up on stage to collect Alt Group’s recent graduate, Luke Scott’s awards. Unfortunately Luke couldn’t be there because he had to run Alt Group while the rest of the studio were in Sydney, but he does hold a place in AGDA Awards history, being the first Kiwi to claim a Student distinction.

The business minded designers amongst us rejoiced as Brand Society claimed a Pinnacle in the Design Effectiveness category, the second since its inception, for their entry More Love for Nanna’s.

There was a flurry of Pinnacles to end the night, with Alt Group claiming one in the Spatial Category for Te Oro Tukutuku, which was also Ant Donovan’s judge’s Choice.

Voice claimed their first pinnacle for Hither & Yon in the Design Crafts category, helping elevate table 16, made up of Voice, Sons & Co. and Toko to MVT (Most Valuable Table) of the night.

The final award for the night went to Kris Sowersby, the man who convinced us that designers aren’t actually wankers in the debate during the day. As he approached the stage, Kris threw on his sophisticated glasses and trundled on stage and gave us all a big thumbs up. Clearly this will be the lasting image of the 2015 AGDA Design Awards Dinner and will perfectly sum up the fantastic performance by our noisy neighbours across the ditch.

The evening wrapped up with some words from 2015 Awards Chair Jason Little, along with a big thank you to our National Events planner Anita Lyons, who played a massive part in the most successful Awards Dinner to date.

Thank you for reading my rubbish. Now look at some pictures and smile.

Photos by Diana Chirilas

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