PLN Product Designer, Troy Darrow, feels he has a lot to be grateful for

Our lead Product Designer, Troy Darrow, completed a Bachelor in Design at AUT, majoring in product design with a minor in digital fabrication. We chat with him about creativity, inspiration and gratitude.

Why did you choose to study design?

From a young age I was always one to pull things apart to see how they were made, from broken amps to computers. My parents have always been very creative; Dad is very musical and hands on, and Mum an artist. So having both of these amazing people in my life exposed me to the benefits of creativity. A big inspiration at my college actually helped push me to get into product design, so going through college I did a lot of extra work in the product design workshop and spent many lunch times tinkering away on speakers, accessories or just talking music. Many people have helped me on this path, and I thank them!

What do like about your role as product designer at PLN?

Being the lead designer at PLN does mean that your tasks are always changing from day to day - it keeps me on my toes. Being involved in sales, design, manufacturing and install means I have my finger in many pies. But also with manufacturing custom work comes a lot of extra design time and knowledge, which is why the experience that our on-site factory hold is irreplaceable. I will never stop learning from them.

Which project is your favourite so far?

Gosh! We have done so much…. From a sensory room with water beds to 3D mapping super yachts. I would have to say my favourite experience would be Peter Gordon's ‘The Sugar Club’ located above the 360 Orbit dining in the Auckland Sky Tower. Taking design partner ECC and Peter Gordon through the design process was a vital part of its success and transforming their words into a 3D shape was an exciting challenge. After many revisions we created a lounge design, a tub chair design and marble tables. They look amazing! I’ve been up twice for dinner and the furniture is always getting used. It's really rewarding to see that dream come to life.

Image of the Sugar Club Bar and Restaurant

Who are your design inspirations?

Charles and Ray Eames for their use of innovative materials. More locally, David Trubridge for his constant push for sustainable materials. There are many great people that have influenced me - both international and local designers.

Image of designer David Trubridge

How can design stay relevant with all the changes and challenges in the world at the moment?

Design is always evolving and helps us fulfill some of our needs and wants. Obviously with the Coronavirus the business world has currently had to slow down… But this is not the case for design. Over the last month I have seen such great creativity from the design community, from people banding together to create 3D printed face shields for frontline workers, to the worldwide implementation of working and designing remotely. It's very inspiring to be a part of it.

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