The ECC team in Milan
Tom Dixon's new Milan restaurant, The Manzoni
Left: Glas Italia's installation at Salone Del Mobile | Right: Moooi's new Party Wall Light chandelier

The ECC team give us their highlights from five days at Milan Design Week

The ECC team has been in Milan as part of their annual pilgrimage to scope out new products from the city’s renowned Design Fair. Spending the last week immersing themselves in the incredible installations at Salone Del Mobile and Euroluce, here they report back on some of the highlights.

Day One
Field notes: Today was all about settling into Milan and taking in its bustling atmosphere. We spent most of our time exploring the infamous Brera design district before heading to the highly-anticipated press preview for Moooi. Marcel Wanders released his new sofa, the BFF, a soft, quilted modular style. Other highlights included the new chandelier version of the party wall lights launched last December, that actually sung to us via embedded microphones, and the unveiling of a new fabric, Tokyo Blue — a denim from Japan with high durability.

Left: Mike Thorburn with Marcel Wanders | Right: Moooi unveils a new fabric, Tokyo Blue

Day Two
Field notes: Minotti’s stand at the fairgrounds was the highlight of day two. An incredible set-up that took 120 people 5 days to construct, it housed a collection that’s widely considered to be one of the most cohesive and impressive in Milan. GamFratesi joined the Minotti team this year for the first time, contributing two new chairs to the collection and Minotti also unveiled the new outdoor version of its Tape Cord range by Nendo.

Minotti’s new outdoor version of its Tape Cord range by Nendo

Day Three
Field notes: Back at the fairgrounds, we spent most of today meeting with suppliers. Highlights included Lapalma’s new outdoor range, the new additions to Glas Italia’s Sherazade door collection — a fascinating exploration of light, glass and geometric shapes — and the Magis stand, where ideas of recyclability and reuseablitiy had been the basis for the brand’s new designs. In the afternoon, it was time to head to Euroluce — the biennial lighting fair that brings the best and brightest to the city.

Lapalma displayed it’s new outdoor collection including the Panco bench seat
Magis’ new collection at Salone Del Mobile

Day Four
Field notes: Taking advantage of the fact that Euroluce was on (it only happens every second year) we took today to explore the offerings of some of the best lighting designers in the world like Artemide, Vibia and Ingo Maurer. Particular highlights included the entranceway to Flos’ space, which glowed with a sculptural, modular piece called Coordinates by Michael Anastassiades. At the Ingo Maurer stand rubber gloves with lightbulbs attached to each fingertip provided a quirky, creative inspiration.

Coordinates by Michael Anastassiades for Flos
Ingo Maurer’s stand at Euroluce

Day Five
Field notes: Returning to the streets, we explored some of the fascinating offerings around Milan’s various design districts. There was so much to be seen outside the fairground itself. We also headed along to Tom Dixon’s new restaurant, The Manzoni, in which the designer had cleverly planted a number of his new pieces, like his two new chair styles, Fat and an updated Slab. Later on, we headed to the institutional Rossana Orlandi and Nilufar Galleries and their surrounding pop-ups where we found, among other things a fascinating projection of infinite shades of colour.

The Manzoni by Tom Dixon
The Manzoni by Tom Dixon
A projection of infinite shades of colour

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Auckland’s newest food truck is delivering dairy-free soft serve worth swooning over

No matter how young or how old you are, soft-serve ice cream is something everyone can appreciate. The simple yet delicious treat is a universal delicacy but usually, by virtue of its nature as a dairy product, excludes those that are vegan or lactose intolerant. Enter Lulu’s — a new food truck in Auckland, churning out dairy-free soft serve for everybody to love, no matter what their dietary requirements.

The coconut milk-based soft serve has the same rich creaminess as a regular soft serve with an added nutty aroma and after-taste. The flavours change from time to time but are all just as delicious as each other. From the fruity plum and mango to the matcha green tea, Lulu’s line-up is sure to draw the crowds, even as the weather cools down.

It has recently joined the Auckland Food Truck Collective family which means we will be seeing much more of the cute, pink and red food truck at local foodie events. If you’d like Lulu’s all to yourself, you can even book it as a catering service for events, where it will have its dreamy, dairy-free soft serve on-tap all day.

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Author to know: Delve into the darkly gripping works of Juliet Escoria

It may only be April, but we’re banking that 2019 is going to be a great year for literature. Avid readers will be spoilt for choice over the next few months, with so many anticipated books set to drop from both debut authors and practised wordsmiths. In light of such, we’ve started a new series highlighting the most notable literary talents we think you should be investing your time in. Chinese-American author Yiyun Li kicked off our inaugural post last month, while this month — after much deliberation — we’ve decided to showcase San Diego-raised Juliet Escoria.

A dab hand at writing in all its forms, Escoria is just as likely to leave readers spellbound with short poems as she is long, meaty prose. She handles taboo subjects with the same knack for storytelling as she does with those less provoking, and her ability to make dark-yet-impossible-to-put-down content has seen her applauded by critics around the world. Her written repertoire spans both short story and poetry collections, novels, and online features for the likes of VICE, Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Fanzine, while her creative talent has seen her lend a hand to other forms of media, like video making (more on that later).

Escoria first came to the attention of voracious readers back in 2014, when she stunned critics with Black Cloud, a collection of short stories. Despite being applauded by a critic from Salon magazine as “one of the best books to read in 2014,” Black Cloud was not written for the faint-hearted. Each story is a brutally honest exploration into life and death, ugliness and beauty, and comes together in an anthology that has been described by Dazed as “sometimes-heart-ripping, sometimes-gut-wrenching-to-the-point-of-legitimate-nausea” and by British pop culture magazine The Quietus as a “book that feels so brave it could get someone fired.” Escoria published the collection of miniature narratives alongside a series accompanying videos, tremendously brash shorts that were both compelling and unnerving in equal measure.

After her short stories made waves, it was with hot anticipation that fans awaited her full-length poetry collections, Witch Babies, in 2015, and Witch Hunt, the year after. The latter of which caused more of a stir. Using her viciously straightforward and unbelievably raw tone, Escoria discusses a range of unsettling yet interesting topics, like addiction, mental health and heartbreak, each peppered with glimmers of love and hope.

Now, in May of this year, Escoria is set to release the blunt, coming of age novel Juliet the Maniac. An autobiographical piece that follows a 14-year-old (Juliet) the work is a graphic portrait of youth angst and agony. While unreleased, the novel has already topped many variations of the ‘books you should be reading list,’ including those on Elle, Bustle and Buzzfeed — the latter of which dubbed her latest efforts “a force that shouldn’t be ignored,” despite its “heavy and overwhelming” content.

Escoria is a controversial writer at best, but it is her brutality that makes her stand out from her contemporaries — more like a shard of ice in the ocean as opposed to a drop — a blinding factor that we believe cements her as an interesting author to know.

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Forest

Meet the unique, plant-based pop-up set to take over Thursday nights

Plabita Florence decided to start a series of pop-ups called Forest, to showcase the wonderful, natural flavours that come from the land. And in less than a year, it has become one of the most monitored projects in the Auckland dining scene, causing foodies of the city to keep their eyes and ears constantly peeled for fear that they may miss Forest’s next move. Luckily, Florence has just announced some news that is putting us all at ease.

Beginning from the 2nd of May, all the way through until 20th of June, Forest will set up (semi-permanent) shop in The Midnight Baker’s space, every Thursday evening serving up a six-course extravaganza for those who purchase tickets. Proving that plant-based dishes go beyond a bowl of plain green salad, the team at Forest creates pure magic with nature’s bounty, exemplified in dishes like the gnocchi with smoked carrot and wild herbs, and the cold brew-soaked sponge with caramel cream, tamarillo, brandy syrup, rhubarb and chocolate.

Rhubarb and elderberry tart with lemon verbena and oat cream

All the dishes are made using locally sourced, foraged and of course, organic produce, meaning that the menu will change regularly and always offer something unprecedented and unique. Forest is not only meant for vegetarians and vegans either. It’s for people who want to be taken on a gastronomic journey and explore a little outside their comfort zones.

Tickets to Forest Thursdays are $85 per person and it pays to book in advance as Forest already seems to have garnered a cult following. Click here to book your spot for an experience that is not to be missed.

Forest

The Midnight Baker
218 Dominion Rd,
Mount Eden,
Auckland

www.whatisforest.com

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The ultimate exfoliation treatment to refresh your skin between seasons

The first foray into autumn presents the perfect opportunity to overhaul our self-care routines. But before barrelling headfirst into new season products designed to shelter your skin from the inclement weather that lies ahead, it’s important to start the season with a fresh slate. Chances are, your skin will have seen a lot of sun, chlorine, oils and fake tan throughout the course of summer, leading to a build-up of sorts that requires a serious spot of exfoliation to remove. We’re of the firm stance that nobody can look after skin quite like the professionals and, in the case of this particular transitional overhaul, East Day Spa’s Intense Hydration CODAGE Paris Body Scrub is utterly unrivalled.

Using a fine sugar and rice particle scrub, the wellness wizards at East Day Spa gently buff the skin to slough off dead skin cells, and summer’s product residue, until the body is smooth, soft and glowing. The divine treatment is rounded off with a boost of nourishment, where natural oils are replenished via CODAGE’s Intense Moisturising body milk. Boasting a high dose of hyaluronic acid alongside shea butter and baobab oil, you can rest assured that — much like most other CODAGE products — the body milk will leave the skin feeling more heavenly than ever before. (We’ve long been fans of the French skincare brand’s wondrous properties, if you’re looking to treat both the body and face this season, we couldn’t recommend a CODAGE facial enough.)

Delivering sublime treatments right when we need them the most, we can always count on East Day Spa to keep our body in tip-top condition all year round — this tough, transeasonal period being no exception.

East Day Spa

123 Albert Street
Skycity Grand Hotel
Auckland

www.eastdayspa.com

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Inside our night at Asahi’s Akai Doa 2.0 — the ultimate theatrical dining experience

Last Wednesday night we ventured behind Las Vegas’ red door on K’ Road and ascended the neon-framed staircase to the iconic club. Greeted by an atmospheric space bathed in red light, Akai Doa 2.0 enveloped us immediately in a sensory haze of flashing fluorescents, raucous music and Asahi brews — scarcely giving us a chance to catch our breath before taking our seats.

Illuminated by the various shades of Angus Muir’s light installation (that would change with each of the eight courses), we awaited the gastronomic experience promised. And although expectations were high, especially following last year’s stellar season, Akai Doa’s new iteration exceeded it’s inaugural outing and then some.

Without giving too much away — it really is something you need to experience for yourself — the food, which included delicate dumplings, pork belly with impossibly crisp crackling and fish expertly prepared by Chef Yukio (of Azabu), was faultless. And the Asahi beers alongside various cocktails, like the crowd-pleasing wasabi mule were the perfect accompaniments to the menu.

With the chef putting on a show from a booth at the front, female contortionists sauntering between tables and Soraya Lapread on the decks, Akai Doa 2.0 was immersive, multi-faceted and one of the best nights out we’ve had in a while.

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Dine for a difference at the gastronomic charity event of the year

SKYCITY’s Variety of Chefs fine-dining charity event is back and better than ever, continuing its successful, six-year run. Variety — the Children’s Charity is presenting a one-night-only opportunity to raise funds for disadvantaged youth and according to its CEO, over 300 children in this country are in desperate need of appropriate and safe places to rest their heads at night. And given that sleep is essential for children’s growth and development, the fundraising focus for this year will be on Variety’s Beds for Kids programme.

Nic Watt (on the left) & Jonathan Granada (on the right)

SKYCITY’s headlining Japanese restaurant, MASU by Nic Watt is giving the event its full support with Nic Watt himself set to helm the kitchen. Hollywood chef, Jonathan Granada of the critically acclaimed all-day eatery in Los Angeles, Otium, will also be on hand, collaborating with the Kiwi chef to bring us a stellar four-course menu with matched wine pairings. Watt and Granada are two talented chefs who are both passionate about New Zealand seafood and you can bet that the dishes on the night will be nothing short of extraordinary.

A lot of thought, care and most importantly, soul is going into this charity event and tickets have just gone on sale. It’s a chance to wine and dine with some of the finest food from local and international chefs while making a difference for the better and is an opportunity we should all be making the most of.

The SKYCITY Variety of Chefs charity dinner will take place on Friday the 21st of June. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

SKYCITY Variety of Chefs

SKYCITY Convention Centre
Auckland

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Party pics: Inside all the action from last week’s Cinema Peroni

The perfect way to end a busy week, this year’s Cinema Peroni took place on a Friday and saw us congregate in Britomart’s Takutai Square for an al fresco experience like no other. With crisp bottles of Peroni Nastro Azzurro — in the brand’s sleek, new design — tasty Peroni Limone cocktails and a delicious, three-course meal from Amano, all we had to do was sink comfortably into the striped deck chairs, cover ourselves with blankets and settle in for a screening of the compelling, Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers), as chosen by the Rialto Film Channel.

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Have you ever wondered why you get déjà vu? We delve into this freaky phenomenon

You know the feeling. That weird, unexplainable fleeting moment where you’re damn sure you’re doing something, watching something or hearing something for the second time around. The scene plays out like a piece of expertly practiced choreography, the familiarity unparalleled. But how could it be? You’ve never before watched this particular part of The Happytime Murders while crunching on a Tim Tam at the exact same time a car horn beeps outside. (Even the biggest Melissa McCarthy fan wouldn’t subject themselves to that blathering, childhood-shattering 91 minutes twice.)

Déjà vu, French for ‘already seen’, is not eerie, nor is it uncomfortable, in fact we often find ourselves basking in the fleeting seconds of strangeness with an intrigued curiosity. Merriam-Webster describes it as “a feeling of having already experienced the present situation,” but as far as extensive definitions go, everybody seems to be at a loss. If you’re looking for a concrete answer to this Twilight-zone phenomenon, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. There are a few theories floating around, but be warned, some definitely have more credibility than others. (Alien abductions, anyone?) 

The divided attention theory suggests that déjà vu is nothing more than a mere trick of the brain. When people are distracted, let’s say by scrolling idly through their Instagram explore page, they subconsciously register aspects of their surrounds. When they finally become focused, said scrollers feel as though they have already experienced the events around them before. 

Other theories suggest that dual processing — how our thoughts can arise in two different ways — is the culprit. Given that information from a single event can enter the brain via different pathways, it’s possible for these pathways to become unsynchronized. Robert Efron, a neurologist from Boston’s Veterans Hospital, proposed that if there is a delay with the second incoming of information — then the brain recognises this as different to the first, thus inducing a sense of familiarity despite it being the same event. A sort of processing error, if you will. 

However, if Dutch psychiatrist Herman Sno’s findings are anything to go by, déjà vu can be explained through the holographic principle. Comparing memories to holograms, Sno explains how we can recreate entire three-dimensional images from just a single fragment. Déjà vu, he says, comes about when a particular detail of our surrounds — a smell, a sound, or a sight — is similar to a remnant of our past. This small fragment kick-starts our brain into recreating an entire scene from that single piece of the puzzle, resulting in a vague sense of familiarity that isn’t quite right.  

Bored by the science? Let’s talk about some of the wackier explanations. Some put the uncanny inkling down to precognitive dreaming. American psychiatrist Dr. Brian Weiss attributes the phenomenon to signs of reincarnation and experiencing moments already experienced in past lives. 

Second lives, parallel universes, glitches in reality and alien events included, there are over 40 different theories that attempt to explain déjà vu. Unsurprisingly, evidential bases for paranormal solutions are few and far between, but — given that the phenomenon is purely anecdotal — scientific evidence remains pretty sparse, too. Are we close to a scientific breakthrough or is this a case for the X-Files? For now, it seems, the mystery remains largely unsolved.

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Piña colada and Hawkes Bay rib-eye
Poke bowl

Meet Long Bay Surf Club — the North Shore’s new neighbourhood spot

Nestled deep in the North Shore in the burgeoning Long Bay development, Long Bay Surf Club has locals buzzing with excitement and has quickly established itself as a neighbourhood hot-spot. Managed by Scott Ruddock, who previously presided over a number of highly acclaimed Auckland restaurants and bars (including The Grill and Headquarters), the skilled operator has gathered a powerful team to ensure service runs smoothly and seamlessly. It includes the former bartender from Dr Rudi’s and ex-managers from Soul Bar and Bistro and Oyster & Chop to cover the floor.

Angus beef burger

From the moment you walk into the Long Bay Surf Club, you feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed in its warm ambience, created by the natural light that streams through the large windows. The contemporary, timber-laden interiors boast high ceilings and a large capacity of almost 300, which lends the eatery a sense of grandeur and makes it suitable for any kind of occasion.

Sitting somewhere between laid-back pub and elevated eatery, the vast and varied menu at Long Bay Surf Club offers something for everyone. From the classics such as burgers, buffalo wings and pizza to the lighter and healthier dishes such as poke bowls, this spot has you covered. Alongside the food, there are 12 beers on tap and a comprehensive list of refreshing cocktails.

Long Bay Surf Club is apparently just the beginning of what’s ahead for this neighbourhood. Houses and apartments are in the process of being built, as well as a local supermarket, dumpling bar and other eateries. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Long Bay as it transforms into the North Shore’s newest hub. If this new opening is a taste of what’s to come, we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Opening hours:
Monday, 4:30pm until late
Tuesday — Sunday, 11:30am until late

Long Bay Surf Club

4-56 Bounty Road
Long Bay
Auckland

(09) 473 0908

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