01.11.2018

Ethics + Aesthetics (Abel Perfumes Giveaway)



When New Zealander Frances Shoemack moved with her husband to Amsterdam in 2011, she left her career as a winemaker behind and embarked on a new olfactory mission – to create the world’s best all-natural perfumes. Together with fellow New Zealander Isaac Sinclair (once behind the counter at Smith & Caughey’s on Queen Street, now one of the youngest master perfumers in the world, and the only recognised master perfumer from the Australasia region), Frances has spent years developing the Abel family of fragrances.

I need to tell you a little more about what makes Abel so special. When you spray that Duty Free perfume on your skin, you’re generally just spraying chemicals onto yourself, scents created in a lab. Abel perfumes are 100% natural. Every note in every Abel fragrance is distilled from a flower or plant.

When designing perfumes with natural isolates, the creative process is much more challenging, because naturals don’t act in a linear way. They’re alive, with a myriad of facets that evolve in the bottle and even more so on the skin. Abel’s Golden Neroli, for example (using real neroli extracted by steam from white orange blossom flowers – very rarely seen in modern perfumery) took Isaac over a thousand trials to perfect. Actually, interesting side story – Frances was pregnant at the time of developing this fragrance, and found she was attracted to neroli in an almost addiction-like way. After launching Golden Neroli, they noticed other pregnant women were drawn to it in a similar way. Turns out, neroli has a long history of use in reducing the symptoms associated with hormonal changes in women.

Did you know that synthetic musk, used in 99% of all perfumes (it’s a fixative and an overall fragrance enhancer) is widely acknowledged as toxic to humans and to the environment? Not. cool. Frances and Isaac have sourced a natural musk alternative, isolated from a seed inside hibiscus flowers. That’s only one of the many ethical choices Abel has made. Another is in their sourcing of sandalwood from sustainable East Indian plantations, which assists in the re-establishment of a sustainable eco-system in sandalwood’s native home. East Indian Sandalwood, like many essential-oil bearing plants, is a threatened species (due to decades of exploitation). The more you know, huh.

I first heard of Abel back in 2013 when Frances launched her first fragrance. Recently, I’ve been searching for a signature scent for myself, found myself seeking out Abel, and noticed the brand had had a complete re-design. I love that it’s world-class but designed by a New Zealander, I love the minimalist contemporary packaging, and I love something that doesn’t compromise on ethics or aesthetics. I was excited to see the Abel collection has now grown to seven fragrances, has been noticed by the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Monocle and Esquire, and has stockists throughout the world (including 15 stockists in New Zealand).

I’ve ordered one for myself, and after chatting with Frances, we’re giving you the chance to win an Abel Fragrance – of your choice.

Each fragrance in the collection is named after a natural note or accord – White Vetiver, Golden Neroli, Red Santal, Cobalt Amber, Grey Labdanum, and the newest fragrance, Green Cedar (< P.S: Click each of those links, and the fragrance notes will open for you in a new page. Or visit the Abel Instagram to see Highlights explaining each scent.)

The Abel philosophy is to find the purest, most exceptional version of that natural ingredient and build it up into a complex but harmonious, distinctive and long-lasting perfume. Described as a living fragrance, they evolve on your skin, working with your body’s own natural chemistry to create a unique scent that will continually evolve throughout the day.

Competition now closed, congrats to Samantha Evans!

11.10.2018

Good Turn


Bec and Douglas – Daughter and Dad, Designer and Maker, Dreamers and Doers both
Photograph Greta van der Star

 

Every Douglas and Bec collection is a love story of craftsmanship, art history and contemporary interiors. And the New Zealand Dad and Daughter team’s 2018 collection, Turn, continues the anthology, with this ode named after the art of wood turning.

Designer Bec Dowie has created 14 new pieces for the new collection, including a slim side table, dresser and big beautiful hutch dresser. There’s also new linear pendant lights and wall lights which would add an architectural sophistication to any space (these come in chrome, but also in natural, lacquered or blackened brass, too) and a floor lamp with a playful Dutch feel.

Douglas and Bec pieces always manage to feel both right-on-time and timeless. They feel like nothing you’ve seen before yet somehow are familiar… like future-you is looking at a New Zealand design classic, know what I mean?

See everything in the Turn collection here.

 

22.08.2018

Tim Webber


Otto chair (also comes in Navy velvet)

Dowel pendant (serving Mid Century feels)

Donut Side Table

Nixon Stool

Pivot Coffee Table (shown here in walnut with a limestone top,
but also comes in oak with a carrara marble top )

Walker chair

 

New Zealand designer Tim Webber has an all-new collection, launched at this year’s Den Fair. The Otto chair up there is my fave – I love how sumptuous it looks in that mustard velvet, yet the wire base lends it a light airy feel, don’t you think? As with all of Tim’s pieces, there are multiple options for materiality – so you choose your own adventure.

08.08.2018

Hare


Custom brass screen draws on Art Deco forms to divide the study from the main living area

Custom upholstered headboard designed by Lauren Hare


Hare Interiors’ high fashion-feel for Hereford Apartment

Scenes from M11 Salon

 

I have been meaning to share the work of award-winning New Zealand interior designer Lauren Hare with you some time now.

As Hare Interiors, Lauren designs residential and commercial spaces that are dramatic and elegant, with a richness and depth of palette – Lauren wields texture, materials and colour a little like a painter wields oils. Her spaces are sculptural, luxe and beautifully detailed and edited.

Another hallmark of her work is the fact that Lauren designs a lot of custom pieces for her clients – and through this, Hare Interiors has now developed a whole furniture line.

Some of the Hare Interiors furniture collection

 

 

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