Otago Polytechnic
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Enhancing wine with architecture

Tobias Danielmeier

Does architecture influence the perception of the value of food and wine experiences? Academic Leader for Interior Design, Tobias Danielmeier would argue that it does.

Marketing research shows us that consumers and tourists alike are seeking “personalised sensory and bodily-place experiences.” Due to changing wealth distribution, education, individualism, marketing scepticism, and the increasing importance of experience economies, the hospitality industry needs to change how and by which means it represents itself in order to stay viable.

Tobias explains how the role of place and the narration of place will increase in importance as they are used in conveying uniqueness and points of difference. It is argued that experiences and place performances will increasingly take precedence over the mere consumption of wine or food products.  Tobias examined how architecture enables the enactment and narration of company values by individual wineries and can enhance the perceived value of an experience.

“What we have found is that there is an expectation of customers, as they become more aware, for ‘authentic experiences’. Basically the customer wants to feel like they are getting the total package, and architecture can be a vehicle for enabling the customer to feel like an actor or voyeur to a different lifestyle.”

“For many tourism and winery operators there’s a disconnect between the service or product they are offering, and the desires of the consumer,” says Tobias. “What we identified in our research is that there are eight distinct drivers which will shape the future of food and wine tourism including cultural and social capital, luxury tourism, the balance between technology and the natural environment, globalisation and climate change, and competition among attractions and destinations. Embracing the role of architecture in adding value to food and wine experiences is one way to respond to the pressure of these drivers.”


Danielmeier, T., Albrecht, J.N. (2015) Architecture and Future Food and Wine Experiences. Chapter in The Future of Food Tourism - Foodies, Experiences, Exclusivity, Visions and Political Capital (Eds.) Ian Yeoman, Una McMahon- Beattie, Kevin Fields, Julia N. Albrecht, Kevin Meethan. Channel View Publications.

Place-based fashion identity

Leyton Glen, Caroline McCaw, Jane Malthus and Margo Barton

Can you identify the place fashion is from by looking at the clothing? That is the question Jane Malthus, Caroline McCaw, Leyton Glen and Professor Margo Barton asked themselves as they prepared a contemporary exhibition of Dunedin fashion known as A Darker Eden.

Situated in the non-traditional exhibition space of six former cement silos on Auckland’s waterfront, the exhibition showcased the work of prominent Dunedin fashion labels Tanya Carlson, NOM*d and Mild Red. In addition, iD Dunedin Fashion Week collections and Otago Polytechnic student designs were also on display helping explore the concept of place-based fashion identity.

“Some cities are just considered darker than others,” explains Jane Malthus. “In the southern hemisphere, Melbourne and Dunedin have that reputation, deserved or not, but both have used it to their advantage. Dunedin’s neo-gothic and colonial architecture, four-seasons-in-one-day weather and harbour and hills setting have long attracted writers, artists, musicians and fashion, jewellery and graphic designers to settle here,” she says

“However although creativity and non-conformity are part of Dunedin’s life force, not all fashion emanating from Dunedin is dark, heavy, wintery or all-encompassing. In reality, designers who do all that also do light, airy, printed and even floaty work, so we wanted to acknowledge that breadth.”

The exhibition ran for two weeks, attracting 3000 visitors and was the first time such an extensive scope of Dunedin fashion has been displayed.

The exhibition’s design process was analysed in a paper delivered at Interplay: International Association of Societies of Design Research conference in late 2015.

“What we wanted to communicate was that regionally-based identity can impact on design process and outcomes as well as showcasing the city in a new light and I think we were successful in doing that,” Jane affirms.


Malthus, J., McCaw C., Leyton, G., Barton M. (2015) Interplay and Inter-place: A collaborative exhibition addressing place-based identity in fashion design. International Association of Design Research Societies, Brisbane, Australia, 2 – 5 November.

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A journey of care

Caroline McCaw and Leyton Glen

A desire to engage young people with old stories was the driving force behind a local social history storytelling exhibition: Who Cared? Otago Nurses in WWI at Otago Museum.

Inspired by the literary narrative of the historical novel Lives We Leave Behind by Dunedin author Maxine Alterio, staff and students of the School of Design illustrated three nurses from Otago, caring for wounded soldiers in France during World War One. Set during the autumn of 1917, the exhibition allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the journeys of the nurses at a temporary surgery, hospital ward, and Nissen hut where the nurses lived and worked.

Caroline McCaw and Leyton Glen, Otago Polytechnic Communication Design Lecturers, teamed up with a group of students and the Otago Museum for the ambitious project.

Caroline says they hoped to bring about an empathetic experience. “We hoped that young people could find a part of themselves in the nurses’ stories as well as learn about and be inspired by experiences they had never before imagined.”

Who Cared? was the biggest public exhibition that School of Design students have ever worked on. Over a course of six months, the completed exhibition attracted over 38,000 visitors.

The exhibition took a fully immersive approach to history. “There were no panels of text in the entire exhibition,” says Caroline. “All the information was embedded in the characters, their few possessions, and the sounds and smells.”

“We all learnt a lot about new techniques including interaction design in the museum context, the process of sourcing props and using projectors and screens. We also absorbed a lot of new historical knowledge about ancient surgery techniques, famous battles and the New Zealand contribution to the Great War” she says.


McCaw, C., Glen, L., Oliver, M., Wilson, J., and Scott, C. (2015). Who Cared? Otago Museum, Dunedin.

Photos by James Russell.

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Sustainable fashion

Caroline Terpstra and Tracy Kennedy

‘Fast fashion’ – cheap and quickly produced clothing – is readily available these days. But how many of us consider the ethics behind it?

Sustainable, ethical practice in business is a hot topic. Those embarking on a career in the fashion industry will have to face the realities of fast fashion and its implications for workers and their welfare.

Caroline Terpstra (Head of the School of Design) and Tracy Kennedy (Senior Lecturer) are enthusiastic about educating students about sustainable practice. Their project focused on a group of second-year fashion students and explored how different learning models impacted on levels of sustainable literacy amongst the students. Their research involved three steps: Information-giving, experiential learning and reflection.  

“We wanted to understand how our students think, and to raise awareness through personalising the issues for them,” Kennedy explains. “We gave the students real situations to respond to, asking them what they would do in specific situations. Would they challenge their employer if a question of ethics arose?”

The research produced positive results. Terpstra and Kennedy saw a definite change in the awareness and understanding of fashion students.

“Students’ attitudes were stronger, more concrete at the end of the project,” Kennedy says. “It definitely raised awareness – and the ‘experiential learning’ made the issues more real.”

In the future, Terpstra and Kennedy would like to study the influence that social media has on ethics and sustainability awareness. “Social media allows students to access information on ethical dilemmas in the fashion industry, but it also means that they have to learn to filter information. We would love to follow this up.”


Kennedy,T.& Terpstra, C. (2013) A stitch in time saves nine: Identifying pedagogies for teaching sustainability issues to fashion students. The Research Journal of Textile and Apparel (RJTA) published by Hong Kong Institution of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 17, No. 2, May 2013. 4612 words.

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Digital millinery

Dr Margo Barton

The process of creating a hat is traditionally a tactile experience. But an interest in the use of 3D technologies in fashion motivated Dr Margo Barton to practise the ancient craft of millinery using modern digital techniques.

Dr Barton, the Polytechnic’s Academic Leader for Fashion, was keen to “consider the millinery design process from the experience of the designer, rather than focusing on the end product: the hat itself.”

She worked with animation and engineering-based software, after making a conscious decision to steer clear of programs created for the fashion industry.

“They impose a lot of restrictions – on the placement of seams for example – which stifles the creative process,” she explains. “When a hat is not on a head it looks a little like a boat, so I employed product design technology in the way a boat-builder would. It was a very different process to physically making a hat,” she recounts. “Scale and gravity didn’t matter anymore, so I could make a hat as big as a house or as small as a brooch – it was really exciting.”

She also attempted to print her designs, with limited success.

 “Because I was interested in the process more than the end result, I tried to 3D print my sketches but the lines were too fine and they broke,” Dr Barton recalls, smiling.

Instead, she made flat patterns from her 3D designs and printed them onto acetate.

“I was then able to recreate the hats physically, although the results were serendipitous,” she laughs. “Some were really amazing but others were not so pleasing!”


Barton, M. (2013) New Hat? Explorations in 3D Digital Millinery Designing and Making. Paper presented and published in the proceedings at the 1st International Conference on Digital Fashion, Fashion Digital Studio, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London. 113 - 122

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Through an archway

Kerry Ann Lee

For Kerry Ann Lee, Courtenay Place is the heart of the historic Wellington Chinese community and for her art.

In Double Dragon (2012), Kerry Ann, a Senior Lecturer in Communication at the School of Design, has created a digital montage of Chinese paifang or archways in her portrayal of past and present Chinese settlers in that city’s centre.

The archways are from Chinatowns from around the world, tracing the story of cultural influences and hybridisation.

“In New Zealand we don’t have a formal Chinatown, so Courtenay Place for me is my sense of community and the closest to me to having a Chinatown. We recognise a Chinese place or space through signs, food, smells and the memories.”

Kerry Ann’s work focuses on the Cantonese Chinese settlement in New Zealand, including her own family history. While the first wave of Chinese settlement occurred in the 1860s, her own ancestors arrived later, in the 1920s. Her immediate family arrived in Wellington in the 1950s when her grandparents worked at one of the first Chinese restaurants, the Canton, in Courtenay Place.

This is the very site were Double Dragon was shown, as part of the 'Imaginary Geographies' exhibition, an initiative by the Wellington City Council to bring art to Courtenay Place.

“I was really excited to submit my work because Courtenay Place had so much to do with our family’s relationship with the site.”

With its vivid colours and bold style, Double Dragon is a striking attempt to recapture the essence of a settled cultural home that has all but disappeared as new waves of immigrants and stories have made their mark on New Zealand.

And it is her story, too, one that was difficult to remain detached from: “I realise the kind of care, responsibility and understanding needed while handling the material as it tells stories of people.”

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Clothing detective

Dr Jane Malthus

Did you know that Hallenstein’s had a waterproofing plant in Dunedin in the 19th century?

Don’t worry, hardly anyone does. But it’s the kind of throw-away comment that can send a thrill down the spine of Dr Jane Malthus. That’s because she has a not-so-secret passion: 19th century clothing and design.

“I am interested in anything to do with dress really, including more recently menswear. Anything can spark my interest to do research… That’s how my paper, ‘Permeable-Impermeable: The Business of Staying Dry in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand’ came about,” explains the Senior Lecturer in Design of her recent research on the Hallenstein factory. “But there’s a bit more detective work yet to be done on that topic before it can be published.”

Detective work it is, or, to use a more apt clothing metaphor, like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s because Victorian-era dressmakers did not document their work. However, with her trained eye, Jane discovers a tell-tale consistency when she looks closely at the techniques being used.

“For example, the piping seen in particular dresses or the way the sleeves were put in was almost always the same. Dressmakers learned those techniques and I was interested in how they learned it. I used letters, diaries, anything that was written by women about clothes or other women, and account books,” she said.

Jane has been working on the fur garment collection at the Otago Museum, is a guest curator for dress exhibits at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, and, with a team from Wellington, is compiling a book on 19th and 20th century dress.