We launch the Ockham Lecture series for 2024 with a family affair – designer Zoe Ikin speaking to the furniture practice of her father, Humphrey Ikin, and the chairs he has contributed to The Chair: A story of design and making in Aotearoa.
Sharing thoughts gathered as she wrote on Humphrey’s chairs for The Chair book, Zoe will share insights into her father’s lifetime of making, her own upbringing in a creative whānau and her ongoing creative practice.
Humphrey Ikin began making furniture over 40 years ago, exhibiting regularly since 1985. A leading figure in the Aotearoa New Zealand studio furniture movement, he became an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2003. In April 1997 Framed: A Studio Furniture Survey, which he co-curated with Carin Wilson, opened at the Dowse Art Museum, later touring to the Waikato Museum. Four months later, his solo exhibition Facing North opened at City Gallery Wellington, travelling to the Auckland War Memorial Museum in 1998. Facing North was not his first solo show, nor his first at a museum, but it can be considered his most significant body of work. The formal sophistication of his designs, with their meticulous execution and material particularity, demonstrates his commitment to a modernism that is rigorous, yet capable of reflecting the South Pacific identity of Aotearoa New Zealand furniture. Since 2012 Ikin’s focus has shifted to dry-stock farming, but he remains one of this country’s most respected furniture practitioners.
Zoe Ikin grew up in a design household in Mt Eden, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. From a young age she was surrounded by objects, exhibitions and publications that represented her parents’ interest in design culture. This early exposure inspired a career in design, and after graduating with a Bachelor of Design from AUT in 2007 she spent over a decade working in multidisciplinary design and brand studios. As a Design Director at Alt Group (2011–21), Ikin worked on large-scale brand transformations, which combined her broad interests in brand, graphic, industrial and experience design. In 2021 Ikin shifted into design leadership and is now Head of Experience Design for a major New Zealand bank. She still considers herself a ‘design maker’ and has ongoing personal enquiries in furniture, architecture and woodturning, as well as encouraging her two young daughters’ creative interests.
The Ockham Lecture series is an annual programme of lectures and panel discussions across different themes that critically engage with craft, design and architecture. This programme is supported by Objectspace's Lead Partner Ockham Residential