Tag Archives: Christchurch

Hum Dingers of the Grid City

Hum Dingers of Grid City - modernist commercial architecture in Christchurch, NZHum Dingers of the Grid City is the personal creative project of Nicholas Burrowes. Shot around 2007, Nick cruised the streets of Christchurch documenting the many modernist commercial buildings of the city pre the first earthquake in 2010. In his words: “Some remain. Some of unknown future. Many gone forever. Crying shame. All are part of Christchurch’s fabric whether you like them or not. Concrete slabs, aggregate, blocks; brutal, imposing, international. Not everyone’s cup of tea but certainly mine.”

Mine too Nick.
Click through to his online store to see the extensive collection and the opportunity to buy your own.

Hum Dingers of Grid City - modernist commercial architecture in Christchurch, NZ Hum Dingers of Grid City - modernist commercial architecture in Christchurch, NZHum Dingers of Grid City - modernist commercial architecture in Christchurch, NZHum Dingers of Grid City - modernist commercial architecture in Christchurch, NZHum Dingers of Grid City - modernist commercial architecture in Christchurch, NZ

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Ian Strange – “Final Act”

Ian Strange - "Final Act" at Canterbury MuseumIf the imagery here doesn’t grab your attention then I highly reccommend you check out the video below introducing the incredibly capitivating project by artist Ian Strange.
“Final Act” was created in Christchurch, using homes destined for demolition post the devastating 2011 earthquake. As part of the RISE Festival presented by Oi You – Ian worked with renown NZ cinematographer; Alun Bollinger to add even more depth to this beautiful and emotionally charged body of work.
For those able to get there, the exhibition is currently showing at the Canterbury Museum until March 23rd… and I for one am not leaving town til I have seen it!

Ian Strange - "Final Act" at Canterbury Museum Ian Strange - "Final Act" at Canterbury Museum

Ian Strange: FINAL ACT from Ian Strange on Vimeo.

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Hannah Claire

Hannah ClaireSometimes I kind of feel like graduate fashion can get so cutting edge and over designed that it isolates the audience as no one is sure they can pull it off! But in my opinon,  young emerging Canterbury designer; Hannah Claire has struck a fun balance between wearability and frocks that are just a wee bit special.
She JUST launched her new online store last night and will be making most of her gorgeous collection to order so quality is assured!
Go and have a browse.

Hannah ClaireHannah ClaireHannah ClaireHannah Claire

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Ten Dollar Fonts

Ten Dollar Fonts

Ten Dollar Fonts is a growing online mecca for font lovers world wide…and its based in Christchurch, NZ! Daniel McQueen is the brain behind the platform that provides an accessible and beautiful home for the work of up to 65 international typographers.

I can vouch for the overwhelming anxiety when faced with hunting for “that special” type and have bookmarked a seriously long list of favourites here for future use!

Ten Dollar FontsTen Dollar FontsTen Dollar FontsThe three fonts below, Onehunga, Kuiper and Venezia are by a collection of NZ and Australian designers. Click on images to follow links.

Ten Dollar Fonts - OnehungaTen Dollar Fonts - KuiperTen Dollar Fonts - Venezian

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Hapa – Christchurch

HAPA - Studio HomeMaureen Taane and Yuri Bacas Hosaka

When I wrote my wishlist of people to interview in Christchurch – Maureen Taane and Yuri Bacas Hosaka of HAPA were at the top. Initially this was due totally to how excited I was to see a brand new NZ focused design store spring up after the 2011 earthquake. But following our afternoon together, my appreciation and understanding of their business was quite different. HAPA is more than a store, it is a positive and exciting project aimed at cultivating local creative talent and giving it a platform. Exciting really is the right word for it.

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I had been invited to join the pair at Yuri’s Southshore home for their weekly off site meeting. The fact that the store is a container means that nitty gritty business discussion generally finds little privacy from customers – so lunch at home works well.

It was here while munching on cake and being entertained by Yuri and husband Anthony’s wee girl; Yuki, that I learnt about the roots of this partnership. Up until the February 2011 earthquake, Maureen had managed the city’s most popular and iconic design store; The Vault for 17 years. As someone that grew up in Canterbury I can vouch for the fact that the place was an institution and was responsible for many a perfect gift giving! Yuri trained in Industrial Design with a background of involvement in international start-up scene, most recently participating in the local TEDxChristchurch.

HAPA - Studio HomeHAPA - Studio HomeIt was following the devastating earthquake that spelled the end of The Vault and a vast portion of the local creative industry, that Yuri’s brain got ticking. She began to mull over forming a multi disciplinary space that could help reconnect the community and offer creatives an environment to continue their work. But through her initial research she quickly discovered that suitable commercial spaces were extremely thin on the ground. A downsize of the concept was needed and she settled on a plan for a store.

HAPA - Studio HomeHAPA - Studio Home

She then reached out to her super experienced friend Maureen, who shared her passion and they started to created a plan together. Their store would aim to offer Christchurch designers and creatives an outlet to sell their work – the vast majority of these types of stores had all but gone so there was definitely a niche that needed filling.  At this stage the pair were then able to take advantage of the Business Hub that had been set up at the Westpac Trust Centre, where all resources and support were provided for free.
Despite now hunting for a smaller footprint, the search for a space was drawing dead end after dead end. That was until the Re: START container mall was proposed for the former Cashel Mall location and finally the women had a home for their project. As the only “new” business going in the mall, just 5 weeks to prepare before the opening and Yuri falling pregnant just 2 weeks into their new partnership, the pressure was on!

HAPA - Studio HomeHAPA - Studio HomeHAPA - Studio HomeFittingly – the story  from this point is an incredibly uplifting one. We wrapped up our cake eating and headed back along the bumpy New Brighton roads, threading through the newly opened central city (where I TOTALLY got lost with the absence of all my former landmarks!) to the Re:START mall and the glowing windows of the little HAPA store.

Yuri and Maureen have definitely achieved what they set out to do and are currently working with 127 local suppliers. These include artists displaced from the closed Arts Centre precinct, established local designers and a large number of makers that have been scouted and then developed by the team themselves. Following their opening they watched the shape of the city centre change. What was a predominately a popular shopping area for inner city workers and local visitors now hosts are far larger portion of tourists than before. The support and interest shown by bus loads of cruise ship visitors, Australians and even domestic tourists has been heart warming and unprecedented.

HAPA - Studio HomeHAPA - Studio Home

To date they have resisted the pull of lush trade fairs and instead continue to pour time into sourcing local designers who they then offer support on pricing, branding, packaging and product development. Essentially, an invaluable relationship for many creatives who struggle with the reality of offering something that actually has a market. The shop is littered with “Made in Christchurch” tags and plaques profiling the makers. For customers this adds value and integrity to their choices and for the creatives, a way to further extend their exposure.

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Maureen and Yuri are also inspiring in the fact that while HAPA might be their passion, its certainly not their only priority.  Maureen runs the music label Tikidub with her brother and sister, often requiring her to leave town for days at a time. While Yuri juggles caring for her young family and the admin involved in owning the only green zoned house in a block of red zone. Like the rest of Christchurch they have had to deal with the rolling aftershocks and the business issues that accompany that. But. They continue to be future focused, inspiring and …well… completely awesome.

HAPA - Studio Home

All photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home


Change – as scary and as disruptive as it can be, does make way for new opportunity if you choose to be brave enough to take it.


Posted in art, creative hq, emerging designer, fashion, for the home, jewellery, new zealand, product design | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Mister – Christchurch

MisteR - Studio Home

For the more discerning gentlemen in NZ, choice of snappy local fashion has been a tad limited over the years. While there has been no shortage of streetwear brands popping up on a monthly basis, tailored menswear has been disappearing into the background. That is until a Christchurch husband and wife design team decided to indulge their love of tailoring and bring some classy quirk back into the lives of the kiwi male.

I visited Ra Thomson and Mickey Lin a few weeks ago in the back blocks of suburban Halswell, just on the outskirts of Christchurch. With the address located I ran through the drizzly murk to the front door, but before I could knock Ra popped his head around the corner and waved me into the garage. This was a well finished, comfortable 2 car garage with utilities and an electric door opener that any homeowner would be proud of. It had now been fitted with clothing racks, industrial sewing machines and a large cutting table to become the post earthquake HQ of clothing brand; MisteR.

MisteR - Studio HomeMisteR - Studio HomeRa and Mickey first met in class studying fashion at Christchurch Polytech. Ra, born and bred in Canterbury, was only 16 years old on his enrollment, graduating at 19. Mickey had arrived in the garden city with her family from Taiwan in time for high school and then on to CPIT.  With a blossoming romance on their hands, they decided to stay on and look for work locally on their graduation. Mickey with work in the fabric department of Ballantynes and Ra designing for Jockey Kids at Pacific Brands.

MisteR - Studio HomeMisteR - Studio Home

But the big smoke (and even bigger smoke) called and the pair set off on their fashion adventures. Ra packed up and headed for Wellington, taking up a spot in the Starfish team and then cutting his teeth in mens tailoring with the now ceased; House of Hank. Mickey skipped the country on a mission for New York where she had enrolled in summer school at Parsons School of Design studying graphic design and design management. She then landed on her feet with an internship for a fantastic womenswear designer who shared her own love for a classic and tailored aesthetic.

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But NZ called and Mickey was back on a plane home, this time taking her own turn to work with the Starfish team. Meanwhile, Ra had honed his technical skills and was now “cutting” for House of Hank, Starfish, Robyn Mathieson and others.  After two years with House of Hank the designer decided to wrap up his business so despite his freelance work, Ra found himself with a lot of time on his hands as any full time positions were slim on the ground.
At this point Mickey did a short stint designing swimwear ( which she very quickly realised was not at all up her alley!) then moved on to find a fantastic position with Robyn Mathieson.

Essentially, the two young designers had garnered much experience and it seemed like this was the ideal time to start something for themselves. So the evenings were spent with brainstorming the bones of a tailored menswear brand and by 2006 they had a small, sharp collection which they sold exclusively through iconic menswear store; Marvel.

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Over six months they produced and sold jeans, jackets and shirts with great success and completed their first full range for Winter ’07 which was stocked by Marvel in both their Wellington and Auckland stores and the Contemporary Lounge in Christchurch. Their stock consistently sold out and in 2008, with their business looking good they decided to relocate back South where rent was a bit cheaper, there was a great manufacturing base and their support network of family and friends.
They set up in a space in central Christchurch (got married!) and continued to build their MisteR brand with two collections per year. They had no qualms in packing their stock and hitting the road to show potential new stockist their wares which earned them some great results and a growing group of quality retailers.

MisteR - Studio HomeMisteR - Studio HomeThen…the ground went nuts under their city. On the day of the February 2011 earthquake Mickey and Ra had initially made plans to meet with a property manager to check out some cool, rustic, industrial spaces that they imagined they might be able to combine as showroom as well as workroom.  But with some last minute discussion that morning, they decided that perhaps that wasn’t the right direction for their business so cancelled their meeting and drove out to grab a bite at a cafe in New Brighton.  There is no doubt that their late change of plan may have kept them safe as they were uninjured during the quake and were able to make their way to check on Ra’s grandparents in the sea side suburb (despite a pothole induced flat tyre and extreme liquifaction). They initially attempted to get into the city to gauge the damage to their building, however, being just one block from the collapsed CTV building this was impossible. For weeks following they would gather at the cordon almost daily until finally they were given just 5 minutes to run in and rescue patterns, laptops, fabric, scissors…anything they could fill their arms and those of their 5 army personnel helpers with. Their sewing machines eventually followed however to this day, their landlord is still waiting on a report as to whether he can re open his building or demo it.

MisteR - Studio Home

So in the mean time it was pretty evident to me that MisteR is doing JUST fine from its suburban base in the garage of Mickey’s parents. Despite the earthquake they forged ahead to show at the 2011 NZ Fashion week and also launched their womens range. They remain extremely passionate about NZ made and take huge pride in using local manufacturers to connect the dots of the different parts of their business. While the lure of manufacturing offshore can be strong they believe that by spending their own dollars on producing clothes that are then sold in NZ, they are simply helping the money to continue circulating around our own NZ economy.

I like it. In fact. I liked pretty damn much everything about these two.

MisteR - Studio Home

All photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

There is definite credit in spending the time learning your trade. Learn from the best. Learn from many. And squash it all into a skill set ready to help you realise your own dreams.

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Posted in creative hq, emerging designer, fashion, new zealand | Tagged , , | 3 Comments