Peter Haythornthwaite: Design Generation is a major survey of one of New Zealand’s most influential industrial designers. The exhibition focuses on the output of his prolific design practice over forty years. The examples of product design, branding and experience design will be familiar to many who have never had reason to consider how they were created. From ideation sketches to form models and working prototypes, Haythornthwaite’s creative process illuminates the professional skill-set of the hands-on pre-computer era.

As well as dramatically improving many clients’ business models by better anticipating their customers’ needs, Haythornthwaite has taken a number of self-initiated entrepreneurial steps to demonstrate what is possible when design integrity is the driver.

Developed as part of Objectspace’s Masters of Craft series, the exhibition is curated by design historian Michael Smythe. Accompanying the exhibition is the launch of the major publication, Design Generation: how Peter Haythornthwaite shaped New Zealand’s design-led enterprise, written by Smythe with additional text by Michael Barrett. It tracks Haythornthwaite’s career through childhood influences, education in Auckland and Illinois, work experience in California and New York, and teaching and consultant practice back in New Zealand. He has played a key role in elevating design education and the wider profession in New Zealand. As co-architect of the markedly successful design integration initiatives in New Zealand and Victoria, Australia he has facilitated embedding design thinking and ‘doing’ into many SMEs. The Peter Haythornthwaite story vividly documents the many ways in which he led the way as New Zealand’s evolving industrial design profession matured from a context of economic protection to global competition.

Peter Haythornthwaite: Design Generation at Objectspace, the sixth major commissioned project in Objectspace’s Masters of Craft series, honours a significant design practitioner and industry leader whose enduring impact has reached well beyond New Zealand. Objectspace’s Masters of Craft exhibition series celebrates the achievements of outstanding New Zealand practitioners working at the highest level in the fields of craft, design and the applied arts whose practice is distinctive, enduring, influential and redefining of tradition.

Oh Ah Stove, 1991. Photo: Neil Liversedge

Zespri spife, 1988. Photo: Neil Liversedge

Merryware body brush, 1988-89. Photo: Chris Lewis

Peter Haythornthwaite with the Wella Hair Steamer, 1981