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Local design skates into book

A prominent local photographer, an award-winning landscape architect and a popular Wairarapa skatepark are all featured in a new book celebrating “artistic and spectacular” skatepark constructions around the world.

Skateparks: Waves of Concrete showcases nearly 50 skateparks from far-flung places such as La Paz in Bolivia, Munich in Germany, L’Aquila in Italy… and Masterton in New Zealand.

The Masterton skatepark renewal project is one of two skateparks designed by Rich Smith of Rich Landscapes to feature in the hardback coffee table book, illustrated with images by Pete Nikolaison – who has been working as a photographer and framer in the Wairarapa region for the past 40 years.

Smith, who has made a career of combining his love of skateboarding and his passion for “good urban and landscape design”, is delighted his parks made the cut for the book.

“It’s been a great opportunity for us. I think this is awesome that we got invited to forward a couple of projects to be displayed amongst all the other great designers around the world.”

Smith, based in Auckland, was motivated to get involved in skatepark design “back in the day” because “we just had so many poor examples of skateparks getting built.”

The renewal of the Masterton skatepark is one of 80 projects Smith has designed.

By putting the wants and needs of existing and potential users of the park at the heart of his design, he incorporated a multi-levelled box jump and street elements – like rails, ledges and stairs – into the revitalised design, as well as a liberal use of colour.

“The colours really ‘popped’ the whole park,” Smith said. He also created a visual tie-in with the deciduous trees in the background.

The skatepark’s colourful skin and its leafy setting are features Nikolaison has also made “pop” in his photographs for the book.

“It’s always good to see your work published,” Nikolaison told Midweek.

When he got the email about the book project he thought, “That would be a cool shoot.”

He used a drone for the dramatic overhead shots, and also used the park’s floodlighting to his advantage in some nighttime shots.

“You go down and watch the place, and it’s just so cool to see it being so well used.”

Waves of Concrete is not only “great global publicity for the skatepark”, but for the region as a whole, Nikolaison said.

“The Wairarapa is a stunning place. And we’ve got all the facilities we need and it’s easy living.”

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