Confronting design: case studies in the design of ceramics in New Zealand
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This study maps a way of looking at design history in New Zealand through the investigation of a taxon of industrially manufactured ceramics. Understanding design as an enfolded process of production, distribution, mediation and consumption, three threshold moments are identified as occurring within the European settlement period: the internationalisation of commodity production and consumption; the emergence of import substitution; and the deregulation of the market. While production has formed an element in the design of ceramics in New Zealand, it is contended that greater significance lies in both the trade and the mediation of these commodities and in particular in the way these have influenced local consumer choice. Emerging from this study, a series of key binaries become apparent: between the metropolitan centre and the frontier; between state and business; and between the traditional and the progressive. Likewise, the positioning of design within the institutionalised sites of power-or its absence from them-has been a prime force both in the development of manufacturing industry and in determining the nature of the consumer market.