Q: Why become a PDINZ now?
Alistair: Becoming a PDINZ Member has been something I have always aspired to. Having said that, I also wanted to apply when I believed I had earnt my stripes and had something to offer the design community. I was nominated by one of the founding Partners at Blender Design, Oliver McDermott, who believed I had reached this point in my professional career.
Q: What do you hope to contribute as PDINZ?
Alistair: Over the years I have been the beneficiary of the great and supportive design community we have here in New Zealand. Anything I can do to give back especially to the young talent coming up.
Q: What is your role at Blender and what does a ‘standard’ day look like for you?
Alistair: My day usually starts between 4am and 5am with a strong cold brew coffee and a couple of hours on my bike or in the gym to get my head and body in the right space. I am a Senior Industrial Designer there and to be honest no days are really 'standard'. I am involved with managing several jobs, so there are lots of internal catch-ups with our designers and meetings/calls with clients. Having said that, I still really love design so the largest portion of my day is still on the tools, creating. I tend to be involved with the later stages these days, like detailed design, rather than the front end concept stages.
Q: Where do you see your strength as a Senior Industrial Designer?
Alistair: The experience I have gained throughout my career after being exposed to so many different product designs gives a library of knowledge that can be applied to future projects and helping other designers at Blender. Developing close relationships with clients I have found to be a strength I have, that is really key in my role.
Q: You spoke about enjoying getting your hands dirty, what is your favourite material to work with and why?
Alistair: Everything and anything that allows me to test the design/feature I'm trying to figure out. I love getting into the workshop and quickly mocking something up from the materials at hand. It allows those questions you have about a design to be answered and sooner rather than later, when the consequences are far greater. It is also a great communicator, having something physical to discuss with clients and other members of our design and engineering team.
Q: What are the main tools of your trade and are there tools you are keeping in your radar/hope to upskill to?
Alistair: A notebook, a sketch pad, Solidworks, Keyshot, Adobe, 3D printers and a workshop. Between these I am generally covered for any situation however, we always have an eye out for new tools that may add value.
Q: You used to be a competitive cyclist… with your designer hat on: what is your all time favourite bike and why?
Alistair: I am actually lucky enough to own my dream bike: a Colnago C64 - a lugged carbon bike still handmade in Italy. Being involved in mass production of products I still have a great love and appreciation for handcrafted products. It's a bike I will never sell.
Q: You have won Bronze and Silver for some of your work throughout the years, what do you think those accolades have contributed to your practice?
Alistair: They have added the desire for a Gold and Purple Pin and the constant push to do better within projects and deliver for clients.
Q: What do you think was the most useful/poignant aspect of your PDINZ interview?
Alistair: It is so easy to get caught up in day-to-day life, the interview gave me an opportunity to slow down, look back and reflect on how far I have come and question where I would like to be in the future.