05.06.2019

New Zealand Designer – Natasha Mead


Stopped by the portfolio sites of one of my favourite New Zealand designers – Natasha Mead – and found a bunch of beautiful work I’d not seen before. A freelancer for a number of years, Natasha is now also part of a boutique but full-service studio, 1/1  (1 of 1 Studio – great name) with fellow designers Joe Swann, Natalie Thomson & Patrick Daley.

Natasha’s work (brand identity, packaging, printed assets and more) for organic skincare line, LESSE. 

Beautiful e-commerce for NZ store Everyday Needs

Modernity, simplicity and blind-emboss-beauty for architect Daniel Boddam

Packaging for one of my favourite brands, Sansceuticals

More blind emboss loveliness and a signature mark for J Hannah (See much more here)

Brand identity and packaging for My Chameleon 

See more of Natasha’s work on Natashamead.com
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follow her aesthetic on Instagram
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See 1/1 Studio’s recent projects here

16.05.2019

My Father’s Florist


We’re going to do something a little different today – and that is to let Josie tell the story of her floral styling brand My Father’s Florist herself.  As you read her words, you’ll understand why it wouldn’t have been right for me to try to massage them into the regular descriptive paragraph or two.

Photography above by Robbie Hunter

My name is Josie and I am twenty-five. I live on the wrenching, gritty and graceful west coast of New Zealand, Piha.

I am in a constant love affair between the ocean, floristry and mental health. I started My Father’s Florist in July last year after some really unfair and tragic circumstances caused me to take a step back from my employment at the time. My Father’s Florist is about desperately trying to borrow what the West Coast lends me and gifting that to others through floristry.

My Father’s Florist is built around two things; capturing joy and dealing with grief. My understanding of joy is not happiness. Joy is the deep rooted and grounded understanding that no matter how horrible life gets, life is still unquestionably beautiful. I believe that joy can be present on the bad days, on the days in which you just can’t, when it’s unfair and when you just want acknowledgment that the situation you find yourself in sucks.

A big part of my business and my love for dried florals is grief. But grief interwoven with learning how to step into gratitude and step into joy.

 

I started collecting flowers when I was significantly shorter and a fair bit more foolish. I have trodden the known and unknown paths of my hometowns for uncounted dusk and dawn soaked hours. Some of these evening walks were the walks of lovers. At other times they were lonely. I started collecting, documenting, foraging and began to gain a deep-rooted understanding of beauty from the ashes.

That’s the beauty of dried florals really, that in every single process of life there is unseen detail. Silent joy.

I don’t want to be a floral designer, I want to be someone who is pursuing joy and just happens to make beautiful products. I believe in unique and whenua grounded design, I believe in creating a product, service and art piece that reminds you of Joy.

 

I currently split my time between the sand soaked soil here in Piha and the romance of the city. I work part time for a florist in Ponsonby, making whimsical wedding, store and event flowers. The rest of the time I spend foraging and creating in my Tiny house and caravan where I live by myself.

The thing that sets me apart from other florists who offer dried flowers is that all my flowers are foraged, it’s a long tedious process as it’s a massive gamble to see if things will dry in a good enough state to use. I spend two days a week exploring, knocking on doors, meeting strangers, meeting my community, talking, learning and creating a beautiful network of people who let me forage from their gardens. I make up for any lack with roadside finds.

All Photography except where noted by Natalie Ng (Journal and Co)

 

Mental health is my priority, so this business is a slow one in the sense that I am ruthlessly eliminating hurry from the way I run it, which probably isn’t a smart business move, that being said there are some exciting things in sight.

I am currently attempting to bribe a local Piha business owner into letting me have a pop up florist at their store this coming summer, my main motivation being I can surf when the waves are good and make flowers when they waves are average, plus they sell really great tacos… Alongside this I will be running some pretty incredible dried floral workshops, and releasing some beautiful ceramics, dried floral products, dried floral bouquets, my new collection of dried floral rings, wedding packages and figuring out how to press flowers onto the top of a surf board before it’s glassed over.

~

Oh and I guess I should explain the name. My Father, he champions my creativity, I design it he makes it. He is my business partner and before I could claim the name florist I could claim the name daughter. My Fathers florist yes is about joy and expressing grief but I can only do both of these because he first created an environment in which it was encouraged to do so.

 

You can buy Josie’s intricate wreaths (in extra-large through to miniature sizes),
sculptural ikebana arrangements and other floral artworks online at My Father’s Florist.
Follow Josie’s creative journey on her Instagram.

04.04.2019

Abroad: New Zealand Architect Briar Hickling


 


Watch this short video please
(Created by Postcard Productions for Herschel Supply Co.)

 

You look at both the quantity and quality of projects Briar Hickling has worked on… and then you see she’s still just in her 30’s. Barely hitting her stride. Can you imagine her body of work in another decade?

After graduating at Massey, Briar cut her teeth working for one of New Zealand’s leading hospitality designers, Allistar Cox. Then, in 2009, she moved to Shanghai, to a Senior Associate position at Neri & Hu, one of China’s most world-renowned architectural practices. There, she worked on world-class hospitality projects in Asia, Australia and the UK, including restaurants for internationally acclaimed chefs, and hotel projects such as Westin Hotel Xi’an, The Waterhouse in Shanghai, and the Alila in Kuala Lumpur. It was at Neri & Hu she met her work wife. fellow design wunderkind, Alex Mok. After collaborating on a number of big projects together, Briar and Alex founded their own practise, Linehouse.

In Briar’s own words: …I saw China as an opportunity to start my own practice… to create unique spatial concepts with a contextual narrative. In some ways the design process is more open in Asia, the construction process is faster and there is more room for flexibility. If you can harness this somewhat chaotic process, the result can be very rewarding. This is how I have managed to build an extensive portfolio of work which also came down to hard work and initiative. Now based between Hong Kong and New Zealand, the last 10 years have allowed me to establish a network of local craftsman, creating bespoke designs and allowing for an inventive use of materials to create something new and unexpected.”

That was 2014. It’s been a prodigious 5 years, conceiving and realising 30 (Yes, three-zero – in five years!) of the most incredible, storied, exquisitely-detailed environments.

Above is just one of their most recent projects – John Anthony, an East-meets-West Dim Sum eatery on Hong Kong Island. Named after historical figure John Anthony, the first Chinese man to be naturalised as a British citizen in 1805, and the ‘father’ of London’s original Chinatown. Briar and Alex’s design draws on the story of John Anthony’s life, exploring a fusion of colonial architecture with eastern detailing, to create a British Tea Hall turned Chinese Canteen.

Linehouse have employed the materials John Anthony would have encountered on his journey from his homeland to London’s docklands: hand-glazed tiles, natural and racked renders, terracotta, hand-dyed fabrics and handwoven wickers, hammered copper lights. A celebration of sustainability and traditional craft is communicated everywhere you look. The detail is amazing.

The main dining hall, with its vaulted ceiling, is an interpretation of the storehouses of London’s docklands.

The floors are tiled with reclaimed terracotta from old Chinese village houses

The aesthetic plays on the retro nostalgia of East-London Chinese canteens

The private dining rooms are lined in hand-painted tiles, featuring large scale illustrations of commodities traded between the British and Chinese in the 18th century such as medicinal poppies and exotic animals. 

Briar’s very latest project, Tingtai Teahouse, is a series of huge elevated boxes inside a vast old factory. These suspended spaces-within-a-space act as individual private teahouses, all sleek glass, brushed stainless steel and contemporary minimalism, alongside the patina of the original concrete columns and brick walls of the former factory.  See photos of this incredible project here. (Actually, pop the jug on and set aside a half hour to tour all their projects – so inspiring)

It won’t be long before Briar and Alex will stretch those impressive wings to other progressive pockets of the globe. They’ve recently opened an office back on Briar’s home turf – I’m hoping that means there’s a New Zealand project on the way….

15.02.2019

Studio South


A twofer today with a duo of different projects by Auckland design practice Studio South.

Above, branding, stunning print collateral and a show suite for 246 Queen, a new development in CBD Auckland which will see architects Fearon Hay re-design and rejuvenate an iconic Queen Street building into a new high quality city landmark.

And below – I couldn’t not share Studio South’s new digs with you. Designed in collaboration with Rufus Knight, Sam and his team have repurposed an old warehouse in St Mary’s Bay into a versatile new space that includes a full photography studio, presentation room, social spaces and an open-air courtyard.


Photography by Simon Wilson

 

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