The silent object

One of our favourite shots from our April/May issue is a Patrick Reynolds classic: a beautiful cedar-screened home on the shores of Lake Taupo by Richard Goldie of Peddle Thorp Architects.

The home presents an impassive face to the neighbouring subdivision - this is the southerly elevation we're showing here, after all - but is surprisingly porous inside, with a generous front porch facing the lakd and a sunny courtyard in the centre. Goldie says the exterior cedar screen was inspired by the verticality of the vegetation in the area - there are lots of flaxes and grasses - as well as the orange shades of some local lichen. This shot of the home looking vaguely impenetrable also seems an appropriate response to what Goldie calls the "extraordinary brooding quality" of the lake.

Here's a shot looking back from the lake towards the home's front porch. All the screens are moveable, but Goldie says the idea is that they force people to sit down and relax to contemplate the view.

Our new cover

We're off to the printers today to press-pass the cover for our April/May issue. It features a beautiful shot by Paul McCredie that was taken from inside a holiday home designed by Herriot + Melhuish on the Kapiti Coast. Choosing our covers is always a nerve-wracking process. We're hoping this one has a sufficient combination of warmth and architectural detail to seduce plenty of buyers. We've focused predominantly on renovations in the next issue, but the home on our cover is one of two brand-new dwellings in the magazine.

Design Awards 2009 finalists

We happily present the finalists in our Design Awards 2009 - our picks of the best New Zealand furniture and homeware of the past year.
The 'Spiral Islands' light at the top of the image is by David Trubridge.
The 'Twig' coat stand is by Jamie McLellan for Fletcher Systems.
The black 'Knight' light is by David Moreland.
Both the orange and black steel tables are by Nathan Goldsworthy of Conscious Design.
The wooden lamp base by Ben Pearce with shade by Martin Poppelwell were produced by Sandi Reefman for her company Esther Diamond.
The red 'Hawk' chair is by Simon James.
And because you can't really see the fabric design by Ngahuia Damerell (inspired, she says, by the architectural idiom of Te Papa), here's another image of it:

If you don't mind us saying so, we think it's quite an excellent line-up. Our next issue of the magazine contains all the info on the designs and the winners, and will be published on April 6. We're also planning a series of exhibitions of the finalists' designs at the following locations:

Wellington: At the showroom of our Design Awards sponsor, Staple Furniture + Design (cnr Bond and Lombard Streets) from April 2-9
Auckland: At Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, 13 Reeves Road, Pakuranga, from April 17-May 3
Gisborne: At Staple Furniture + Design, 38 Childers Street, from May 7-21.
We hope you can make it to see the objects while they're on display. We'll also be hosting a talk featuring the designers at Te Tuhi in conjunction with the exhibition there - we'll post details when we've finalised them.

Miles: A Life in Architecture

We know we're biased, because we're one of the sponsors of the exhibhtion, but we thoroughly recommend you visit the Christchurch Art Gallery to see the excellent show 'Miles: A Life in Architecture', featuring the work of Sir Miles Warren of the Christchurch (and now national) firm of Warren & Mahoney.

Art institutions are understandably skittish about architecture exhibitions. The best way to experience architecture, of course, is to be in a building. While we agree with this, we also believe that experiencing a building through photographs is a worthy stand-in for the real thing. At the exhibition, the excellent photographs of Warren & Mahoney buildings are combined with plans, helpful information panels and Sir Miles' beautiful watercolours of his buildings.

Sir Miles has also recently published an autobiography with the Canterbury University Press - we feature an excerpt in our current issue. It's a lively read, especially the part about how proud he was of the early notoriety of his Dorset Street flats, which were described soon after their completion as one of the ugliest buildings in Christchurch. Our article features some of Paul McCredie's photographs of the flats. The passing of time has shown them, in our opinon, to be anything but ugly:

One of the striking things about the exhibition is the awareness it promotes of the great architectural legacy of Warren & Mahoney, which has given New Zealand some of its most beautiful modernist buildings. Take the chance if you're in Christchurch to see the show and, if you have time, drop by the Christchurch Town Hall, one of the firm's masterworks. It is as elegant and seductive today as it was when it opened in the early 1970s.

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