The Value of Design Black Pin reflects a multi-million dollar investment in design of all kinds, in all sorts of organisations.

The effects driven by that investment are truly good for New Zealand. 

In 2022 Emirates Team New Zealand received the Value of Design Black Pin.

Emirates Team New Zealand
It is always exciting to see design leadership from New Zealand making impact out in the world. It is even better when this leadership happens consistently, over many years and in the process changes the entire landscape of its chosen endeavour.

This is certainly the case for our 2022 Value of Design Black Pin Winner. 

Design Innovation:
From designing the first Americas Cup boats to foil, supercats, cyclors and most recently spearheading the foiling monohull’s rise here at home - design innovation and impact has always been at the heart of everything Emirates Team New Zealand does.

 With the most recent AC75 class development they have redefined todays sailors expectations around the speed and excitement possible in modern day regatta’s. Creating a halo effect that has trickled down into the new AC40 class now expanding pathways into the Americas Cup and increasing participation across the board. 

Design Culture:
Emirates Team New Zealand’s design culture encourages taking risks and is constantly questioning what design will look like in 10 or 15 years, then trying to design that boat now, ahead of time. Driven by a powerful inhouse philosophy of always building talent from within, they created virtually every component of Te Rehutai - shape, structure, mechanics, hydraulics and electronics. Continually developing in new areas such as machine learning, and collaborating to bring new technology onboard, prototyping with 3d printing to stay nimble and stay ahead of the game. 

 Design Performance:
As the dominant team of the past 20 years, chasing down a three-peat in the next edition would be unique achievement in the modern era. Winning the 36th America’s Cup on the water at home in the Hauraki Gulf created huge reputational value for both Tamaki and Aotearoa brilliantly showcasing both people and place into the living rooms of the world. 

 Design Contribution:
The 36th America’s Cup was the most watched America’s Cup ever with a dedicated viewership more than 3 times the size of the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda in 2017. Reaching a total global TV and live streaming audience of 941 million people, delivering incredible value to sponsors and the country alike despite the influence of COVID 19.

New ideas, new technologies and new partnerships are always at the forefront of this teams thinking - they are already on to the next design innovation, the next marine industry partnership, the next fuel innovation for chase boats - they never stop, they are always searching for more.

As Taiaha Hawke from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei beautifully explained the story of the name Te Rehutai: “Where the essence of the ocean invigorates and energises our strength and determination." 

Emirates Team New Zealand Your essence, Your determination, Your energy, your contribution inspires and invigorates all of us as a nation. We are very proud to award the Designers Institute Value of Design Black Pin for 2022 to Emirates Team New Zealand.

Value of Design Black Pin – recipients speech on the night - Emirates Team NZ – Dan Bernasconi

"We’re very proud to be representing the team here tonight – and I’m sure that goes for every one of us here tonight – but we are only a small part of the team as a whole. We expand and contract as we go from one campaign to the next, and we’re currently 120 strong – including boat builders, shore crew, sailors – and 35 designers covering a range of engineering and design disciplines. So on behalf of the whole team, I’d like to thank the community here for this award – it means a huge amount to the team to have that recognition that the Value of our Design is a massive part of what has made the team what it is today.

I would also like to thank the wider team – that is, our sponsors, official suppliers and the huge number of businesses that support us here in New Zealand – and to Ngāti Whātua who have been valued partners with us for many, many years. They have all been a big part of our team and continue to support us through this campaign.

I’d now like to say a few words about the environment that has allowed design to flourish within the team. Our CEO, Grant Dalton, portrays a pretty tough image, and as a team we probably have to have a pretty hard shell – especially when the media is going against us – but the reality on the inside is very different. The culture within the team is extremely open, and very flat. It’s a culture that filters naturally through the team, and is deeply rooted in those team members that have been with us for a long time. It becomes quickly apparent to anyone who joins.

In essence, our culture is about freedom to explore coupled with group ownership of any decisions we take – plus a pretty high appetite for risk in design. If I look back at some of the design directions we’ve taken, it wasn’t so much about creativity – I think we’re all creative and there’s no shortage of ideas – but it’s more about having an environment where everyone is enthusiastic to put their ideas forward, and the wider team is receptive to exploring them."

The America’s Cup is now synonymous with foiling yachts, but back at the beginning of the 2013 campaign the idea of 7 tonne multihulls flying above the water was just a dream. I’m sure we weren’t the only ones thinking about it, but at the beginning our team’s management was the only one to give us the freedom to explore and invest in that direction. It brought us agonisingly close to victory in San Francisco, but unfortunately back at that stage, we were still a little too conservative, favouring reliability over development - which was quite a natural choice when we were 8-1 up in a first to 9 regatta, but ultimately proved to be our undoing.

After our loss, we regrouped and really established our ground rules going forwards: that we would continue to encourage innovation, but not be afraid to keep pushing that all the way through to the last race. It’s that culture that allowed us to experiment with cyclors, to announce that the 2021 America’s Cup would be sailed in a concept of yacht that had never been tested, and in that Cup to design and built a race boat that was very different from the prototype we’d designed a year earlier. We also make every major decision as a group; there’s basically no commands from above. If we disagree, we will keep researching an idea until the right path becomes clearer. And we’re fortunate because nearly every decision can ultimately be based on evidence – from modelling, testing, or far more frequently now, simulation.

It’s a privilege to work in that environment, and as a design team we’re very grateful for that trust the team puts in us: for the culture that says there are no stupid ideas. It makes it a fantastic place to work and I’m sure has been what has given us an edge over our competitors in recent years. 

So thank you again on behalf of the whole team for the recognition of the Value that Design has brought to the sport and to New Zealand.