To The Floor - The Lifeforce

To The Floor is a design competition brought to you by Milliken-Ontera to create a design that is to be translated for commercial environments.

The design theme for this competition was inspired by the circular flow of our living systems. Creating a rhythm between all living things, restoring and regenerating with each flow.

The winner will work with Milliken-Ontera's creative director to develop a carpet tile collection that will be manufactured and sold globally earning the winner 3% on sales.

We would like to congratulate Ashley Oswin -
the winner of the To The Floor design competition.

Ashley Rose Oswin is a textile designer and artist based in Wellington.  She has an interest in behavioural approaches to sustainable design and a love for meaning, technical innovation, process and repeat patterns.  Ashley enjoys working on projects that call for a more critical and philosophical approach.  She is currently working as a Textile Technical Demonstrator at Massey University College of Creative Arts.

Shaneel Deo, Managing Director, Milliken-Ontera.
"We are proud to partner with the Designers Institute to showcase the design talent in New Zealand to the World through our inaugural carpet design competition “To the Floor”.  The response from the design community in New Zealand was fantastic, with very high calibre entries received. It was great to see the consensus from the judges on the finalists and ultimately the winner.. 

Congratulations to Ashley Oswin for winning the competition and we look forward to commercialising her concept into a successful carpet tile collection."

Circular Relationships  
- Ashley Oswin

"The anthropocentric mindset of Western society has fostered a great imbalance between humans and nature.  It is our responsibility to restore the balance that we have diminished and revert to a more reciprocal and circular relationship with the environment. 

Acknowledging people, nature and the cosmos as parts of a whole - interconnected, symbiotic and inseparable from one another - is key to the sustainable future of Aotearoa.

This design is a visualisation of the interconnectedness and circularity throughout our world, a continuous seamless repeat pattern acknowledging the complex relationships, shared energy and reciprocity between all things. 

Visualised in colours from the landscape of the South Island to bring nature into human dominated spaces, with vibrant blues from Lake Tekapo, greys and greens from near Farewell Spit and reddy tones from Glenorchy Lagoon."

Next Steps:

Ashley will work with the creative director from Milliken-Ontera, James Mfula, to develop a carpet tile collection that will be manufactured and sold globally earning the Ashley 3% on sales.

James Mfula, Creative Director, Milliken-Ontera talks about the next steps in the process .

"The first part of the brief is to meet and listen to Ashley’s creative story on how she developed her concept. From here we will have an understanding on how we can utilise this information to further develop the range.

The next stage is to discuss the Milliken-Ontera design print process and work through a collaborative process of developing the patterns in order to achieve a mutual commercial outcome.

Through every step of the collaborative process the two teams will be in constant discussion on pattern design and colour selection.

Development samples will be sent at appropriate times for feedback and evaluation.

The design brief will follow our Milliken Couture 4-step process.
- Concept
- Design
- Refine
- Produce

We look forward to working with Ashley as we bring her concept to fruition".


Rosanne Nola and Jen Cheyne, Unexpected Pathways

Portia Beacham and Frances Fraser, Drawing From Pariwhero

Olivia Collinson, Whatipu Beach

Miranda Brown, Lace Of Interconnection

Ying Chu and Ryan Shields, Zen Garden

The Judges

Alisha Patel, Fearon Hay Architects
Valentina Machina PDINZ, Jasmax Architects 
Meisha Kimber PDINZ, Alt Group

The Theme

We are living through a time of great imbalance, one that will ultimately bring forth a new era of creativity. An era that works with nature, not against it. One that gives more than it takes.

The circular flow of the natural world means our ecosystems are constantly flowing, adapting and are ever changing. Increasingly, we are seeing the negative impacts of the human world on these systems and we are becoming more detached from the natural world. How might we design- in nature?

The energy flows across the natural and created world, generates a lifeforce that can be shared between the people we sit next to at work, the clothes that we wear, the streets that we run, the carpets we feel beneath our feet that flow across the spaces we occupy.

This interconnected nature of all things is central. Where the lifeforce is at its most flourishing when the environment, people and the spiritual dimension are in sync with each other.

This was our opportunity to design as nature intended.

We were looking for designs that bring to life this concept of circularity and a reciprocal lifeforce for you. We wanted you to imagine what your design might give to a space. A place where everything is connected and generates a lifeforce for its inhabitants. The systemic challenges we currently face cannot be solved in isolation but in the connections between each of us and the world around us. How might these designs bring forth these connections?

So, whether a carpet design that inspires connectedness between people and the environment to enhance their lifeforce, or one that brings nature into the moments that matter, we were looking for a design that connects us in circular flow with the world around us. To usher in a new era of being.

The Brief

The design brief was to create a piece that expresses the circular flow of our living systems for you.

The design didn't need to be designed with a carpet tile as an outcome, as we wanted you to explore freely.

The Milliken-Ontera design team will use their experience to develop the winner's piece into a commercial carpet tile.

Entrants submitted a single hero image and some extrapolated the hero image into more detail or abstractions 

Any piece created is owned by the entrant
- refer to Terms & Conditions below.

Key dates:

4 August

7 August

9th October

30th October

30th November

Terms & Conditions below.

If you have any questions contact or
027 473 2399

Milliken-Ontera Competition Terms & Conditions


(a) Milliken-Ontera and the Designers Institute of New Zealand Inc (“DINZ”) offer the To the Floor 2020 (“Competition”), subject to these Terms and Conditions (“Terms”).

(b) By submitting an entry to the Competition, you agree to be bound by all of these Terms. If you do not agree to these Terms, you are not authorised to participate in the Competition and must not submit an entry.

(c) You acknowledge that you will be solely responsible for ensuring compliance with these Terms and any associated laws relating to your participation in the Competition. Such compliance will not be the responsibility of Milliken-Ontera or DINZ.


(a) We are under no obligation to select a winning entrant (“Winner”) of the Competition, and may elect to reject all entries.

(b) Except forclauses 4-9 of these Terms, no legal or other obligations shall arise on, or be imposed upon or bind, Milliken-Ontera or DINZ in relation to the conduct or outcome of the Competition.

(c) If an entry contains a defect or fails in some way to comply with the requirements set out in these Terms, we may (in our sole discretion) waive the defect and accept the entry.


(a) Entries can be submitted by either an individual or a group of individuals (entries cannot be entered under the name of any design house, company or studio).

(b) Entrants (including all members of a group) must be New Zealand residents. Employees of Milliken-Ontera and DINZ are not entitled to enter the Competition.

(c) More than one entry may be submitted by an entrant. Where an entrant submits multiple entries, each must be submitted separately.

(d) Entries must be:

  • (i) Submitted electronically on the DINZ website and adhere to any technical specifications notified on that website;
  • (ii) Accompanied by the entrant’s full name(s), physical address, email address, phone number and GST registration number (if any); and
  • (iii) Entries must be received before 6.00pm NZST on the specified closing date as published, unless stated otherwise by the Organisers.

(e) If an entry is submitted by a group, then the group must nominate a representative person. Milliken-Ontera and DINZ shall communicate with the nominated representative (and if no such representative is nominated, then a member of the group chosen by Milliken-Ontera and DINZ) and that person shall have sole and complete authority to represent the group for all purposes relating to the Competition, including (if the group is the Winner) payment of Royalties.


(a) All Intellectual Property Rights in the entries will remain the property of the entrant.

(b) By submitting an entry you warrant that:

  • (i) All elements of the entry are your own, original work; and
  • (ii) You own or are lawfully authorised to use any Intellectual Property Rights in the entry, which does not otherwise infringe the rights of any third party; and
  • (iii) Milliken-Ontera and DINZ are fully entitled to use that entry without restriction, for the purposes of the Competition.


(a) Milliken-Ontera undertakes to hold your personal information securely, in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993 and our General Data Protection Policy, available here. We will not pass any personal information on to any other third party unless demanded and required under the laws of New Zealand. You may access and correct any personal information we hold for you.

(b) You agree that we may use your contact details to inform you from time to time about future events, competitions and other activities of Milliken-Ontera which may be of relevance to you.


(a) The Winner will be selected by a panel of judges (“Judging Panel”). The Judging Panel’s determination of the Winner will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. The Winner will be notified by email, phone or post. Where ongoing and reasonable attempts to contact the Winner fail, the award will be deemed as forfeit and the Judging Panel will select another winner.

(b) The winning entry (“Winning Design”) will be used to produce a product which will be marketed and sold glabally by Milliken-Ontera. The Winner grants Milliken-Ontera an irrevocable, transferrable, exclusive (except as permitted by us in writing) licence over the Winning Design. The licence will be perpetual and will terminate only at the cessation of production of the Winning Design, which will be decided at our sole discretion (we will notify the Winner when production ceases). We do not guarantee any minimum production period or volume for the Winning Design.

(c) The Winner:

  • (i) Acknowledges and accepts that we do not guarantee a minimum production period or volume for the Winning Design;
  • (ii) Will be attributed as the Competition Winner in announcements and other publicity arranged by us;
  • (iii) Must (at our expense) participate in the preparation of any publicity that may be required by us, in which the Winner will be attributed;
  • (iv) Must (at our expense) sign all documents as reasonably required by us to ensure our rights to use and produce the Winning Design in accordance with these Terms;
  • (v) Is solely responsible for payment of any tax obligations arising from the Royalties; and
  • (vi) Waives any claims to any other payment, attribution, right or remuneration (except as expressly provided for in these Terms).


For the duration of production of the Winning Design, we will pay to the Winner quarterly royalty payments at a rate of 3% of net revenue from product sales (“Royalties”). Milliken-Ontera will calculate the Royalties payable for the preceeding quarter and notify the Winner of such amount. The Winner must subsequently produce and submit an invoice to us for the amount notified (including provision of payment details), which will be paid by us within 14 days of receipt.


To the fullest extent permitted by law, Milliken-Ontera and  DINZ will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever resulting from your participation in the Competition.

We reserve the right to:

(a) Amend, vary, extend or discontinue the Competition and/or these Terms at any stage, for any reason;

(b) Exclude any person from participating in the Competition on reasonable grounds; and

(c) Refuse or revoke any award to an entrant who we decide (in our sole discretion) has violated these Terms, gained unfair advantage in participating in the Competition or won using fraudulent or improper means.


The laws of New Zealand apply to these Terms and your participation in the Competition. You agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand Courts.


In these terms and conditions:

“Intellectual Property Rights” means any patents, copyright, designs, and any other right granted by the operation of law which confers protection on any written or artistic work created by intellectual effort and all associated intangible assets created as a by-product.

“we”, “us”, “our”, “Milliken-Ontera” means Milliken Australia Pty Ltd and its group (including its subsidiaries, ultimate holding company and affiliates).

“you”, “your” means the person submitting the entry to the Competition, including the Winner.