28.06.2018

Eleven Fifty Four


It’s a little hard to see here, but the back wall is completely tiled in a teeny soft grey grid tile.

Wellington’s calling me this winter for a weekend of eating myself a carb-cardigan, and drinking some of the country’s best coffee and cocktails. One of the spots on the Welly itinerary is this new opening on Cuba Street, 1154. Eleven Fifty Four is a good ol’ new-fashioned Pastaria, serving fresh-daily housemade pastas and organic wine. The interior is serving me industrial and vintage vibes meets your Italian Nonna’s dining room.

Design is in the details, and my fave details are: those red mosaic tiles on the floor of the entrance (and the back wall); the red Baker stools from New Zealand furniture designers IMO; that stunning black-steel-framed suspended menu, and the fact they kept the old stained-glass windows with the HB insignia (this building was a Hallensteins Brothers factory back in the early 1900’s).

Identity design – including all the nice little brand touch-points – by Sunday Best
Interior design by Prak Sritharan

Photography here by Grace Gemuhluoglu (omg, please go and look at her portfolio)

17.05.2018

Protect What You Love


 

An international project with its roots very much planted back here in New Zealand – Activist Manuka is a new Manuka honey brand founded by LA-based New Zealand couple Luke Harwood and Gabrielle Mirkin.

It’s the visual identity that first caught my eye, but I then discovered Luke and Gabrielle’s story is a very inspiring one…

They’ve each traded their individual fast-paced fashion careers in New York (Gabrielle as a senior designer at Vogue, and Luke managing US market development for Stolen Girlfriend’s Club, a brand he co-founded) for a much more chill existence in California. Gabrielle became very very sick with Lyme disease, and the couple moved home to New Zealand for a year, putting everything aside for rest and healing, which they did from a piece of land they own in Coromandel. Friends asked if they could put some hives on the property, and the couple fell in love with bees…

Returning to America, the couple settled in beachside California, and began work on starting their own honey company.

The name – Activist – not only derives from the active natural antibacterial properties of the Manuka, but is also nod to New Zealand’s proud history of activism, paying respect to those who dedicate their lives standing for something they believe in.

Activist works more in partnership with their New Zealand bee-keepers and land owners, to give Americans access to potent, A-grade NZ Manuka honey (raw, unprocessed and from small batches), not the mass-distributed and mass-white-labelled commodity the country has traditionally had presented to them: “We believe it’s important that New Zealand and its resources are represented authentically on a global scale, rather than sold off to international companies to be rebranded and diluted. If that means building a slower growing, sustainable business, that’s cool with us.”

(Doing good by doing good – you guys know that’s one of my fave things).

They enlisted the branding prowess of their friend and fellow Cali-based New Zealand, Art Director Fred L’Ami. The brand also features beautiful New Zealand imagery from another friend, fine art and documentary photographer Derek Henderson.

My US readers (I see you there on Google Analytics!) – contact Luke and Gabrielle at Activist to find the closest stockist in your area. New Zealanders, Activist is available here exclusively from Simon James Design at this stage.

 

Activist   online store  /  Instagram

04.05.2018

Sure to Rise


It’s unlikely you’d just stumble across this spot in Wellington – you’d have to be told by someone to go there. They’ll say: go right down Left Bank Lane (no, not far enough, keep going… right down to the somewhat derelict end of the arcade) and look for the big orange S.  You’ve just struck gold. This is Starta Bread Kitchen – a beautifully-designed space, serving truly world-class breads and pastries.

Starta is the fresh-out-the-oven (refusing to say kitchen, because #RKelly) business baby of Catherine Adams, a Wellington-trained pastry chef who perfected her art in Sydney’s best restaurants, before returning home a few short years ago to start Wellington Sourdough. She supplies her bread (including her classic sourdough which has just three ingredients – local Wellington flour, Marlborough rock salt, and water from an artisanal spring in Petone) to Welly city’s best cafes and eateries. This year, she opened the doors to Starta – out back, the premises of Wellington Sourdough’s commercial kitchen and, out front, the most stunning little bread shop and bakery.

The fit-out is courtesy of the young design team at Proffer. The star of the space is the hopper room, featuring 8 massive grain holders that were sourced from Turkey (see pics above). Polished concrete floors and rough, raw concrete walls celebrate the traditional and industrial, while walls clad in fine vertical panels of American Cedar bring warmth and texture. The dimly-lit space has a sophistication you would never guess from your walk down that laneway – Spanish floor tiles and a white marble counter are just a couple of the elegant accents. When you eat Wellington Sourdough, you’re enjoying something that’s completely traditional and also leading-edge, and I think this interior champions both concepts beautifully.

While most of us are still asleep, Catherine is putting out the daily bread (and pastries)

The grain hopper wall – the hero of this stunning interior fit-out 

Spanish floor tiles alongside original industrial flooring

 American Cedar details mirror the circles and half circles that are a hallmark
of Wellington Sourdough’s brand identity

 

Imagery by Wellington freelance photographer Meg Wyper,
who actually sent me some Wellington Sourdough on an overnight courier. True friend.

 
 

11.04.2018

Palace


Photography with thanks to Swift & Click

From the young trio that brought – I have to say it – the first decent serve of coffee to Taupo (with Storehouse)… their sophomore eatery Palace, a casual burger and cocktails joint in my hometown of Mount Maunganui.

Owners Sam King, and Melissa and Brad Dellar worked together on the 80’s new wave aesthetic (Brad designed the tables and bench seats for example), pulling in the talents of Brad’s Architect dad (Rosetta Stone Architects), and Design Dairy on the brand and graphic tip.

Fave bit for me: the grid theme running throughout. You know me, love a grid – and they’ve done it down to the last detail with the grid greaseproof paper your burger sits on.

Eat with your eyes, then make sure to visit next time you’re at the beach.

 

Palace Burger website     /   Instagram

 

 

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