30.07.2020

Aotea Flagship


Photography by Jono Parker

Good Design (caps intended) has style, substance and sustainability. Style, because aesthetics are important, and we all deserve to have more beauty in our lives. (Plus, when something is pleasing to look at and hold, we also tend to better respect it, take care of it, and be more present for our enjoyment of it, if that makes sense). Next, substance. For something to be well-designed, it should be perfectly fit for purpose. Useful, effective. Life-enhancing in some way. The last part is sustainability. For me, in the context of design, sustainability is a product having longevity, and being made with conscious consideration for people and planet.

Welcome to my TED Talk. But all that to say, that Aotea is one of those New Zealand brands that I feel completely embody Good. Design.

Aotea is a range of therapeutic products inspired by rongoā māori (traditional māori medicine), using native New Zealand flora grown sustainably on Aotea, Great Barrier Island. Ingredients used for hundreds of years and backed today by scientific research – such kawakawa, mānuka, harakeke and kūmarahou – are the hero ingredients in Aotea’s range of small-batch skincare and health products. Their journey began in 2015 at the Parnell Farmer’s Markets with one herbal tonic drink, and Aotea now have over 250 stockists globally. Two Hundred and Fifty! They proactively work to protect Great Barrier’s ecosystem and provide job opportunities for locals, and gift scholarship grants to the island’s māori youth, so they can participate in a high level of schooling (there are no high schools on Great Barrier).

(If you’re interested in learning more about Aotea’s business model and how tikanga māori underpins all they do, or you want to know more about the efficacy and provenance of their products, I can def recommend checking out the Aotea website – it has loads of info.)

OK – so to the reason for today’s post – this beautiful moody space. Aotea recently opened the doors on a flagship retail space at Auckland’s new Commercial Bay precinct. I love how simple they’ve kept this space, and especially the choice of low light – for me this would be a verrrry welcome sensory relief from all the artificial light and noise of the typical ‘mall’ environment.

Like Aotea’s products, the ingredients in this space are simple but substantive – and storied, too. See that centre table? Aotea founder Tama Toki tells me: “The slab is from an old kauri tree that stood on North Hauturu (Little Barrier Island). About twenty years ago it came down in a storm and actually floated into our bay on Aotea called Katherine Bay. My uncle went out in his boat, towed it in and then lifted it out of the water with his tractor. I remember it being quite the scene! From there he cut the tree into slabs and gave them to whānau. This was one of the slabs, and so we decided to restore it for the store.”

You know I have a thing for sinks, and this curvy number gets 10/10 from me. The team were inspired by some of the old communal wash basins they have on their papakāinga. So they wanted to make one similar – but using corrugated iron, because there’s so much of it on the island.

Concept and design by interior architects Wonder Group.

Two hands way up for indigenous international success stories, values-based brands, and Good Design.

 

Visit the Aotea flagship at Commercial Bay, 7/21 Queen Street

Aotea online storeAotea Instagram

17.01.2019

Wedding Belles


Soft Minimalist Perfection


Photography by Karen Ishiguro – these are the most delicious images, Karen

Juliette Hogan has opened the doors to a beautiful new dedicated bridal fitting salon, in Auckland’s Morningside. The space was designed by Juliette herself (and project managed by Pip Maxwell Interior Design) and it’s a masterclass in soft-minimalism.

The best of New Zealand design is on show here – dense forest suede Isabella chairs and a creamy linen Arcade sofa by Simon James Design, metal fixtures from MarkAntonia and Douglas & Bec, Arch wall lights also by Douglas & Bec, and dried florals from Muck.  It’s a space that articulates Juliette’s everyday-luxe bridal aesthetic beautifully, don’t you think – being both clean and contemporary and warm and inviting, thanks to those yummy oak floors, an oversized wool rug (made custom for the space), and the bonus of swathes of natural light pouring in. The new space also marks the release of this year’s new Juliette Hogan Bridal collection. Every single dress in the photos above I imagined wearing, then I spent 20 minutes looking through the whole collection online, and now I wish I was getting married again.

The silhouettes, this space… it’s all just perfection. So if you’re getting married – congrats, lucky girl – and you want to serve elegant modern everything and make them all fall down dead in the aisle, book yourself a one-on-one appointment with Juliette’s dedicated Bridal Consultant.

10.12.2018

SALA


This is SALA – a new boutique gym located in a refurbished factory in the heart of Ponsonby, Auckland.  The journey to opening SALA began when yoga instructor Sarah Lindsay, who has moved from London to make New Zealand her home, couldn’t find a ‘home’ for her practise.

For Sarah, a lot of Auckland gyms seemed hyper-masculine and intense, with a work-harder-be-your-best-self-8-week-challenge sort of culture. That wasn’t for her. Sarah wanted to find a place that embodied her desire to be healthy and to take care of but more importantly to enjoy her body, and her desire to surround herself with like minded people.

So she designed SALA as an antidote – a place where you can come and feel at home, and where no one expects you to be any better than you already are. I love that. There’s also no contracts locking people in, and with 12 different types of classes, there really is something for every body – whether that body wants to feel stronger, fitter, or more flexible, just dance, feel in flow, or be restored and grounded.

Of course, it was the design that caught my eye. Minimal, and modern, simple and serene, and with lots of little details that you can’t see in these sexy pictures, like natural hair and body care products waiting for you in the bathrooms, and thick rubber Lululemon mats so you don’t have to bring your own. And I just love a story of shaking up a category, especially when its done by a young woman who puts design as a priority.

Photography by Brijana Cato (a personal fave, check her Insta)

 

See the SALA classes here, or check SALA out on Instagram

03.08.2018

Fabric


Photography by Josh Griggs

Hello to you, Fabric. Located in the former aircraft repair facility of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (read – huge cavernous and industrial space), at Auckland’s Hobsonville Point. (If you’re visiting Auckland during the week, you can take a ferry from downtown Auckland right to here).

Walker Mitchell designed this space, with its soft muted tones that contrast the industrial bones, and clever use of frosted glass panels to divide the interior into sections, creating a more intimate feel in such a high-studded space. (I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more fluted glass in interior design going forward – mark my words.)

Predictably, I high key love the heavy blush linen drapes, and of course the iconic Danish furniture.

The brand identity also deserves special mention. Sophisticated, yet simple and soft it was designed by Jade Young Studio.

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