UCOL Furniture Design graduate Leilani Krans-Tunnage has taken out the top place in the TVNZ show Design Junkies, booking her a trip to the Milan Furniture Fair.
Design Junkies had six New Zealand designers put their skills to the test in a range challenges, mainly upcycling old materials into new creations. Leilani had the most points at the end of the season, landing her a trip to the renowned Milan Furniture Fair in April next year.
Leilani says it’s hard for her to pick a favourite challenge from the show, but her winning coffee table from week one stands out.
“I enjoyed all of the challenges because they all pushed the boundaries for me.”
“The coffee table was the best result for me, and it was the one where people were most impressed. They didn’t know anything about me, and then all of the sudden I was able to pull off a really cool table on TV, which I was stoked about.”
Leilani went on to win two more challenges: making a floor lamp from marine salvage, and teaming up with fellow contestant Kere Wylie to recycle old bike parts into a new bike.
“The lamp was enjoyable, because it was so out of the box trying to come up with a beautiful design out of some very scrap materials,” says Leilani.
The project that gave Leilani the most trouble was ‘Mooneigh’, a cow/horse sculpture she made from old car parts.
“The biggest headache would have to have been Mooneigh, because I had to weld and I didn’t know how to.”
“Luckily, everyone was helping eachother and generous with their time. It became obvious from the start that if there was something we wanted to learn, as long as it didn’t take up too much of someone’s time, they’d be willing to show you the skill.”
Leilani is now looking forward to heading to Milan with her husband and new baby. While the prize doesn’t include the opportunity to exhibit in Milan, Leilani is excited to see what is coming out of the design world.
“We won’t see a lot of this stuff in New Zealand, so I really want to broaden my horizons and see what else is out there.”
Leilani says being on Design Junkies allowed her to pick up new skills, make new friends in the design community, and attract new potential clients for her Wellington-based business.
“I’ve had a lot of people enquiring about commissions, particularly people after pieces which are extremely meaningful to them and their family, and are in memory of loved ones”.
“The great thing about the show is that it allowed me to get my personality across as opposed to just the brand. I think people trust me to make something meaningful for them.”
Images pictured above of Leilani's coffee table and lamp are courtesy of TVNZ.