Award- win­ning de­sign boss hails team ef­fort

Weekend Herald - - NEWS -

Dan Ber­nasconi’s name is on the award given in hon­our of a leg­endary late mo­tor­cy­cle de­signer.

But the Team New Zealand de­sign boss ac­cepted the John Brit­ten Black Pin last night on be­half of two dozen oth­ers.

They’re the mem­bers of the de­sign team that worked to­gether to help carry Aotearoa, and the dreams of a country, over the fin­ish line more times that ri­val Or­a­cle in this year’s Amer­ica’s Cup.

Ber­nasconi was feted at the Best De­sign Awards, or­gan­ised by the De­sign­ers In­sti­tute of New Zealand, and joins for­mer Ap­ple de­signer Danny Coster, Fisher & Paykel’s Gary Paykel and Nike de­signer Matt Holmes in re­ceiv­ing the award.

The pin celebrates an in­di­vid­ual who has achieved sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess in the field of de­sign both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. It is named for the man who cre­ated the Brit­ten Mo­tor­cy­cle Com­pany to build self- de­signed ma­chines made of light ma­te­ri­als.

It’s an hon­our, but not one he alone can ac­cept, Ber­nasconi told the Her­ald.

“As de­sign­ers we’re all happy that the sailors get most of the lime­light. Most of us are a lit­tle bit reclu­sive. We’re hap­pier in front of a com­puter than a cam­era. But for sure it’s great that the de­sign team gets recog­nised now and again and on their be­half I’m hon­oured to re­ceive that award.”

Team New Zealand’s de­sign tri­umph wasn’t the work of “one big name de­signer with lots of ju­niors just dot­ting the i’s and cross­ing the t’s,” he said. “It’s a re­ally mixed team bring­ing to­gether a lot of peo­ple with ex­per­tise in a lot of ar­eas.”

A key in the tri­umph was the use of a sim­u­la­tor.

“We strug­gled for fund­ing at be­gin­ning of the cam­paign so we were not able to build mul­ti­ple it­er­a­tions of test boats and say ‘ go and go try it on the wa­ter’, which is al­ways what sailors are keen to do,” Ber­nasconi said. “We didn’t have that lux­ury, but to me that was al­most a ben­e­fit . . . it meant we could work more on the aca­demic and tech­ni­cal side of it with­out hav­ing to de­vote a lot of re­source to the nitty gritty of get­ting draw­ings out, get­ting parts built and get­ting tested.” Other teams had tried sim­u­la­tion, but he did not be­lieve they had em­braced it to the same de­gree as Team New Zealand’s sailors, Ber­nasconi said. “Prob­a­bly the other teams, when we fi­nally got on the wa­ter, [ were] ex­pect­ing us to be play­ing catch up. But I think when we launched we were al­most ahead of the other teams in terms of our foil devel­op­ment.” Her­ald

Cherie Howie Dan Ber­nasconi.

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