It’s hard to believe, but 2019 marks 17 years of Semi Permanent. That’s right, Semi Permanent, the OG of New Zealand creativity, New Zealand’s most prestigious, popular and influential creative festival, is hitting its late teens. That’s 17 years of bringing the best global design talent to local shores to share thought-provoking, inspirational and often very personal insights into what it means to design at the highest levels.
Semi Permanent 2018 was a record-setter: three days, 46 international guests, 60-something talks, installations, innovation labs, parties, book launches and signings… and an awesome 3D-film about sharks! Semi Permanent 2019 is shaping up to be even better. Already, a stellar line-up of topflight talent has been procured, including:
Shantelle Martin, visual artist best known for her massive black-and-white drawings. Shantelle is a fashion and design icon who has worked with Nike, Vitra, Max Mara and Tiffany. In 2018, Puma launched a global capsule collection featuring her drawings, and she has also collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, Kelly Wearstler and the New York City Ballet.
L.A.-based media artist and director Refik Anadol is a highly conceptual and exceptionally intriguing visual artist. Refik works at the forefront of site-specific public art; so far to the forefront that you could say with some seriousness that he’s already living in the future. In Anadol’s hands, all building spaces and facades have the potential to be media artists’ canvases; he’s made the Walt Disney Concert Hall “dream”, he paints and sculpts with data, and is preoccupied with memory, neuroscience and technology.
Ever have a great idea for a perfume, which involved mixing every top-flight fragrance released in a year into one big pot and then installing it in Paris’s coolest shop? Too late – Lenert & Sander did that already. This Dutch duo wrote the book on quirky-cool elegance, tore it up into perfect little squares and then wrote it again… and again. Their work for Hermès has motorbikes and roller skates, they’ve flipped Campari on its head, they’ve whittled 98 golf balls into perfect cubes. That’s just the start of it. They’re good. Real good.
Like last year, a three-day Semi Permanent festival ticket is available. Day one is Future of the Future, a business and tech-orientated programme that features leaders from some of the world’s most progressive companies, including Instagram, Microsoft, Kickstarter, Massive Change Network and Google. Days two and three feature an exceptional range of talent – graphic, industrial, fashion and furniture designers as well as artists, illustrators, photographers and architects. All are are pushing the boundaries of design. All are at the top of their game.