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Sam Eichblatt introduces us to a New Zealand design collective making waves.



March 31st, 2010

Design Collective Oh.No.Sumo studied together at the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture, play together and now work together to create whimsical architectural projects.

James Pearce, Katherine O’Shaughnessy, Patrick Loo and Sarosh Mulla spent five years together at university, before graduating in 2008 to careers with different practices.

“There aren’t many other design collectives in Auckland,” says Pearce. “One of the main advantages is that we have a broad range of interests and talents as a group. Oh.No.Sumo is a chance for us to do projects our careers won’t allow us to do, so it can be whatever we want to make it.”

To date, this has covered graphic design, web design and last year, a fund-raising kiosk at Auckland Architecture Week fabricated from folded cardboard.

The ‘Cupcake Pavilion’ comprised two intersecting double-curved surfaces modelled on a computer and made from laser-cut corrugated card ribs that, when assembled, created niches large enough for one cupcake each – 1,000 of which were sold to raise money for the Starship Children’s Hospital.

As well as boosting the group’s profile overnight, the project won them a joint first in the 2009 Cavalier Bremworth Awards’ open division.

Their current project, an installation at the Poggenpohl showroom, is a ‘paper sky’ made from 20,000 hand-folded, triangular modules.

“We were looking for a way to experiment with our design in a way that worked with an interior space,” says Pearce. “The simple geometry of the triangle transformed the showroom to an unrecognisable space.”

Using temporary materials like paper and card, says Pearce, is a sustainable way to see how far they can push the limits of each.

“With each project we’re assimilating knowledge and experience, and pushing ourselves creatively. Like the name Oh.No.Sumo, the goal is to be fun rather than pompous or definitive – but when everyone agrees on something, we know it’s something special.”



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