HOUSE CRUMPETS ALONGSIDE CABINET TREATS
DAILY SALAD WITH CHICKEN
MUSHROOM MEDLEY

A considered and clever daytime eatery, Spectra opens in the central city

Situated in the expansive, light and airy Sky Lobby of Commercial Bay’s impressive new PwC Tower, Spectra is the new cafe making a destination out of a corporate space.

Owned by Roger Liu, whose roster of eateries includes Albany-based Fields and Percy near Auckland Airport under his hospitality group Woozoo, Spectra aims to occupy that liminal, in-between space separating the workplace and the home with appeal and polish.

Whether the intention is to grab breakfast or lunch on the go, or to sit-down for business or leisure, visitors will find a lot to love within Spectra’s clever, considered selection of dishes, all designed by Woozoo Group executive chef Logan Wang.

Space Studio designed lobby

As well as favourites like eggs and toast, and a wholesome porridge, the all-day-breakfast menu includes a variety of both sweet and savoury bruschetta; we’re talking stracciatella with grapefruit segments, chai preserved figs and honey comb; avocado with kimchi tempura, a salty yet sweet sprinkle of olive sugar and cherry tomatoes; and prosciutto with goat feta, tomato, basil and lemon oil.

For fungi lovers, the mushroom medley is a beautifully creamy plate of juicy mushrooms tossed with cashew cream and served with a gauzy spinach crepe, topped with pine nuts for texture.

Spectra’s house crumpet arrives with orange-infused labneh, honeycomb and poached seasonal fruit — delicious alongside locally-made drinks like Batchwell kombucha or organic Zealong tea.

The crumpet with orange labneh, honeycomb and poached tamarillo.

The lunch menu is purposefully concise, catering to busy people who don’t want to spend valuable minutes poring over a complicated, over-reaching selection.

A rotation of daily salads can be eaten alone or supplemented with chicken, sirloin beef or fish. The chicken, we can attest, is incredibly moist and tender thanks to its treatment in a sous vide before being finished on the grill, making for a satisfying and healthy lunch.

The pasta and burger option will also be regularly changing — currently it’s a very enticing bolognese and a crispy chicken burger — and for those wishing to grab lunch on the go, there’s a separate takeaway counter filled to the brim with delicious sandwiches, wraps, salads and baked goods.

Find an array of cabinet food available for those on the go

Spectra emphasises fresh, in-season produce from local suppliers throughout, with Kōkako Organic Coffee providing the beans for each delicious cup of coffee, and a state-of-the-art Modbar coffee machine pouring the perfect brew. The cafe is also fully licensed, with Brothers Beer on tap and a selection of bottled beer, plus a curation of mainly New Zealand wines along with champagne and prosecco.

Beyond the Warren and Mahoney-designed lobby, with interiors by Space Studio, there is an attractive outdoor terrace which, come summer, the team hopes will host outdoor yoga classes and the like — with refreshments provided by Spectra, of course.

Sitting in amongst the tables of humming activity within the Sky Lobby’s airy space, it feels like the city has got its groove back, with Spectra in the ideal spot to provide quality fare to discerning diners.

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00AM — 4:00PM
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Spectra
PwC Tower, Sky Lobby
Level 7, 15 Customs Street West
Auckland CBD
09 302 1188

www.spectracafe.co.nz

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward
VICTORIA BECKHAM

Discover blue light glasses, the clever accessory that combines fashion and function

The fight for a soothing eight hours of peaceful slumber is a far too common ailment. But if the recent crop of relaxed and rested Hollywood stars extolling the virtues of glasses with blue light filters to combat today’s technological causes of insomnia is anything to go by, we’re all eyes.

 “The first thing to know about blue light is that it is a normally occurring part of the natural environment,” says optometrist Geoff Parker of Auckland eyewear specialist Parker & Co.

“Blue light is how humans regulate their sleep patterns, we are wired in a way that exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin production. In simple terms melatonin makes us sleep and if we are exposed to excess blue light, we don’t release enough melatonin and as a consequence we don’t sleep so well.”

From left: Optical frames from Griffith; Kathryn, Ichi and Projekt Produkt available from Parker & Co

 The excess of blue light in our lives, is largely emitted from technology, such as computer screens, phones and even our wired watches. “There is also growing evidence that excess blue light exposure over many years causes serious retinal problems such as age-related macular degeneration,” Parker warns. “This is a condition that causes loss of central vision in elderly people and is effectively a major problem for a sufferer.”

With research continuing in this area it’s not surprising that Parker has seen an increase in enquiries for blue light filters from customers who have difficulty reducing screen time. ”What we prescribe and use is a protective layer that is put onto the surface of a lens that reflects blue light so it can’t enter the eye, much like sunscreen for the eyes.”

Blue light filters can be selected at the time you order your new Celine, Moscot, Garrett Leight or Gucci opticals, but they can also be made and applied to almost any prescription lens. “We also make a non prescription blue light filtered lens for those who don’t need a prescription but want to reap the sleep benefits of blocking the blue light.” 

Coveted


Step into spring with these stylish, easy-to-wear slides

The world’s most desirable luxury activewear brand, Moncler opens its Auckland boutique

The new sleepwear collaboration between Papinelle and Karen Walker is in bloom

Up your brow game — 6 of the most talented eyebrow specialists in Auckland

Face-framing and feature-enhancing, a pair of well-groomed eyebrows can go a long way. But with many tough obstacles to avoid (over-plucking especially), the road to well-groomed brows isn’t an easy one to navigate. As such, we recommend you put down the tweezers and put your brows in the hands of a professional.

We’ve scoured the beauty bars and spas of Auckland in search of the specialists that really go the extra mile — these six are the best in the business.

East Day Spa
For those looking for a distinctly luxurious affair, we recommend booking in an appointment with a specialist at East Day Spa, STAT. Not only has its staff garnered wide acclaim for their ability to create flawlessly defined brows, but their soft, gentle approach makes every visit here feel like a tranquil spa escape — even if it does involve getting hairs ruthlessly plucked from your face. NB: The henna brows here are a real crowd favourite.

Lash Noir
Not merely masters of the lash, (although they are fantastic in this domain of beauty) those at Lash Noir are also adept at crafting the ultimate arch. The beauty maestros here are at your disposal no matter what the request, be that shaping, tattooing, tinting or simple touch-ups, and the variety of eyebrow products available ensure that you can extend the treatment long after you’ve left the City Works Depot premises.

Forme Spa
With their deft handiwork and exquisite range of products, the beauty therapists at Forme spa do an exceptional job every time. And while the brow gurus here offer shaping and tinting, their skills actually extend much further, and so, to truly take full advantage of their talents, we suggest you indulge in one of their packages (like the Waking Woman: Brazilian, Brow Shape & Lash Tint).

Society
Far more than just a locals spot, Society, located in Grey Lynn, lures in brow-conscious aesthetes from all corners of Auckland. The professionals here are incredibly accomplished at all aspects of the process, but we have it on good authority that they’re particularly skilled at tinting.

The Beauty Chambers
It’s housed in a small spot in Ellerslie, but this beauty haven has a presence that belies its size. Run by two effervescent young sisters, Courteney and Candy, what really makes treatments at The Beauty Chambers is the fun and friendly ambience — a visit here feels more like dropping in on an old friend than it does ticking off a life-admin task. If you’re in need of some direction, the girls are especially proficient at feather-touch brows.

Annie’s Beauty Room
Therapist Annie Bargiacchi’s home salon in Mt Eden is always a welcoming space to come and have a treatment, and we’ve got it on good authority that Bargiacchi is extremely adept at brow lamination. If you’ve been wanting to try this treatment out, she’s the one to see. Read more about it here.

Wellbeing


Smile bright with this expert guide to the most effective and safe teeth whitening tools

Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite pilates studio, as voted by you

Breast cancer screening has fallen due to Covid-19 and needs urgent attention — here’s what you need to know
Find some of the city's best burgers at Burger Burger

Denizen’s definitive guide to the best burgers in town

Any gourmand knows that a burger is a dietary staple. They also know that careful thought goes into each and every creation. We’ve spent a fair few months scouring the city for said sandwich-like handiwork and what we’ve found is an extensive list — from beef and cheese to chicken, breakfast buns and even hybrids — of the best burgers in Auckland.

Chicken Burger from Burger Burger
We’re big fans of a chicken burger and this tender, cajun grilled chicken thigh number from Burger Burger is no different. Accompanied with red pepper salsa, tomato jam, aged cheddar, rocket aioli and wild rocket, it will always be one of our go-to’s.

BabyG Burger’s Oklahoma Dreaming burger

Oklahoma Dreaming from BabyG Burger
The burgers from Auckland-based pop-up BabyG Burger are… let’s just say, indulgent. They’re what you want to eat when a no-holds-barred approach is required. Specialising in the double smashed patty burger, utilising a technique whereby the spatula is used to spread the patty onto the grill for ample surface caramelisation, Oklahoma Dreaming also incorporates four slices of American cheese, raw onion, pickles, kewpie mayo, habanero mustard, maple syrup and chilli sauce. Phew.

Smokey Five-O from Five Boroughs
Another popular pop-up, the Five Boroughs crew are taking their sell-out burgers to the Fried Chicken Festival in Auckland from on 8th August. Their special Smokey Five-O burger contains smokey BBQ fried chicken, grilled pineapple, bacon, jalapeños, mayo and Jack Daniels BBQ sauce.

Williams Eatery’s pork and fennel sausage burger

#2 Pork and Fennel Sausage from Williams Eatery
This crowd favourite from Charles Williams’ days as the owner of Grafton spot Ceremony is a must-order. From the oozing over-easy egg to the slaw, cheese and spicy mayo, it hits the spot every time. The vege iteration is also fantastic if you’re that way inclined.

Filet o’ Market Fish from Celeste
If you’re in need of a late night bite, and only one of the best fish burgers in town will do, Celeste is the place you need to be. The buzzy K’ Rd bistro now only serves its famous fish burger after 10pm — second dinner, perhaps?

The Butcher’s Son’s ‘chicken’ burger

Sunfed ‘Chicken’ Burger from The Butcher’s Son
Don’t let the entirely vegan menu fool you — The Butcher’s Son isn’t messing around when it comes to its rendition of a chicken burger. Made with crispy Sunfed ‘chicken’ fillets (made from pea protein), miso slaw, baby spinach, chilli jam and a side of fries and salad, one bite and you’d be none the wiser that no animal products were used in its making.

Swanson Burger from Burger Geek
This isn’t your classic burger. What makes this standout is not only Burger Geek‘s house blend of Wagyu and Angus freshly ground each day, but also its smoked bacon, onion strings and bourbon BBQ sauce.

Lowbrow’s Macdaddy sando

Macdaddy Sando from Lowbrow
Lowbrow‘s flash fast food is second to none, and its sandos are our go-to for when we crave a burger. The Macdaddy is the one for when you don’t quite want to stoop to a Big Mac, and the spicy chicken is also a winner.

Classic Fishburger from John Dory’s
In the fickle borough of Herne Bay, where only a few establishments have stood the test of time (John Dory’s being one of them), you’ll find a delicious fish burger. You can choose to have your fresh snapper or salmon fillet crumbed or cajun spicy grilled, then wedged into a sesame seed bun slathered in lemon aioli with tomato, lettuce and onion. Be sure to request avocao as an extra.

Good Dog Bad Dog’s cheeseburger hoagie

Cheeseburger Hoagie from Good Dog Bad Dog
Hotdog experts Good Dog Bad Dog have proved they also know their way around the flavours of a burger with their cheeseburger hoagie. Served in a long bun, this indulgent burger features double smashed patties, double cheese, special sauce, pickles and onion.

Chicken ‘steamed bun’ from Happy Boy
Technically a steamed bun, but with all the components you’d find in a burger, we couldn’t leave this one out. Made with free-range chicken katsu, white cabbage, pickled ginger, curry mayo and bulldog sauce, you really ought to add Happy Boy‘s Japanese-inspired burger to your list.

Shake Out’s double cheeseburger

Cheeseburger from Shake Out
Shake Out‘s burgers are the perfect easy bite — not too over-the-top, they’re simple and delicious. The cheeseburger contains grass-fed beef in a potato bun with pickles, tomatoes, cos lettuce and creamy Shake Out sauce. Plus, all Shake Out’s packaging is compostable, a detail we’re more than on board with.

The Beef Burger from Grangers
Regardless of whether you find yourself heading to Waiheke on the car ferry, we suggest you make a trip to Half Moon Bay and visit Grangers Tap House. Not only for the views but for the beef burger that comes with crispy smoked bacon, tomato, lettuce, cheese and a side of fries. Here, the burger sauce oozing out is not optional, it’s necessary.

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward
Photo: Jeremy Hooper

Studio Italia’s Valeria Carbonaro-Laws on guilty pleasures and 30 years in the design game

Considering her Italian upbringing and education in law, it’s hardly surprising that Valeria Carbonaro-Laws’ business Studio Italia has gone from strength to strength under her passionate leadership. Now the exclusive New Zealand stockist for a number of famed design brands, including Poliform, Knoll, Poltrona Frau, Living Divani and Kettal, Studio Italia has been responsible for furnishing some of the finest houses in New Zealand — such is the precision of Carbonaro-Laws’ eye, and the quality of the collections she brings in.

Exuding a clear passion for her work that extends to her staff and clients, Carbonaro-Laws has established herself as the unofficial matriarch of Italian design in New Zealand. Here, she offers a few pearls of wisdom, from her father’s seminal advice to her favourite guilty pleasures, and why a sabbatical is on the cards.  

I had to work harder to be taken seriously. I arrived in New Zealand almost 30 years ago and started working in design almost immediately. But my background was in law (a far cry from the beautiful world of furniture design and interiors) and because of my lack of experience and ‘creative English,’ I had to work harder to be heard. I guess you could call it tenacity, but it really was a drive to make my business successful. It might sound a bit corny but now, I genuinely love coming to work every morning. Seeing my staff and talking to clients gives me a real buzz. I love people, and I find that I really thrive when I have human contact. Also, of course, being Italian and having the opportunity to work with the best Italian brands in the world, made this job feel like a natural fit from the get-go.

My father told me when I was a teenager: “You must enjoy the little pleasures that life gives you every day, don’t just wait for the big ones.” At the time it sounded so boring but now I really get it and I couldn’t agree more. 

Transparency and honesty are the two traits I value most. So, of course, they are a must in a business partner. I need someone as driven and as hardworking as me otherwise the partnership can feel unbalanced. Someone with the same goals but different skills, so that we can challenge and complement each other.

My dad was my inspiration. He was an incredible human: kind and adventurous, incredibly intelligent and cultured. He learnt to fly planes and to sail across the Atlantic ocean. And when he finished his career as a lawyer, he started acting onstage in big, important Milanese theatres. Everything he did in his life, he did to perfection (including creating me, clearly!).

I feel most proud watching my daughter. I’m a mother, first and foremost, and seeing her grow into an incredible human being is so special. She reminds me of my father. Professionally speaking, I also feel extremely proud of how Studio Italia has evolved over the last 15 years. We get so much positive feedback from our suppliers, and considering that we operate in a small country, it makes me feel so happy. I owe this all to our clients, of course. Kiwis have a great appetite for good design.

True leaders mentor, they don’t over-manage. It’s a trait I’ve always been impressed by. Many of the people I look up to also seem to be able to strike a sustainable balance between their work lives and their private lives. 

If you love what you do, then you do it with love, and that, to me, is the root of success. The success I’ve enjoyed also comes down to the fact that I’m a good communicator. I love talking to people and understanding their wants and needs. 

I am not a morning person. I am a night owl so I hardly ever get up before 7am. I have a coffee straight away before I start talking to my wonderful family. I love to start the day with a call to my friends or family in Italy.

Motivation is not what I am lacking… it’s relaxation that’s my problem! I have tried meditation many times, but I’ve been trying to do it every day. Now that we are back with the craziness of work, however, I often don’t find the time.

I just love indulging. I have so many guilty pleasures, really too many to mention. But nothing beats a lunch with shaved prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella and a cold glass of rosé. I also love finishing dinners with a glass of the Nottambulo Limoncello, which we have been making with friends for the last three years. The process is just as fun as the end result!

No matter how busy I am, I always make time for clients. I realised long ago the importance of responding to clients immediately. Even when I am frantic and can’t do much more, I make sure that before the day is over, I reply to any inquiries. 

My husband is who I turn to in a crisis (and always). He is there for me in a calm, collected way and he knows what to say and how to help me. Although sometimes he makes me mad too. I call him often during my day, not just in times of crisis. We don’t work together but he helps me a lot by offering different perspectives and business ideas.

My catch phrase would be, Non piangere sul latte versato…. Don’t cry over spilled milk…… do you say that in NZ too? Basically it means get on with it, move forward and don’t dwell on things that you can’t change.  

I wish I had known how enjoyable owning a business would be. And that, ultimately, it was going to go well. It would have saved me so many stressful moments.

I have always wanted to take a sabbatical. A year travelling the world and meeting people of every culture. It’s something I think everyone should think about doing.

Design


Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

This transparent furniture trend is a stylish exercise in creative contradiction

Melding modern lines with a romantic garden outlook, this home is the epitome of quietly confident luxury
Living Divani Hinge stools from Studio Italia

A love of cars and custom design collide in a home built for high gear entertaining

Normally people park their love of cars in the garage when conjuring their dream home but for this young family with boys, the aesthetics of automobiles were part of the original brief.

“The client’s love of fine automobiles played a crucial role in the inclusion of precision detailing and durable materials,” says interior designer Miriam Fanning, founder of Mim Design, who collaborated on the project with architect Emma Tulloch. “Integration and visual appeal were essential in creating a home that exuded luxury, exemplifying modern family liveability.”

B&B Italia Oskar table from Matisse
Baxter Chester Moon sofa from Cavit & Co and the Poliform Mondrian coffee table from Studio Italia

While the owner’s collection of model automobiles is a direct representation of car-centric creativity, the remaining details in the modernist Melbourne residence nod more subtly to their design heritage, with aerodynamic curves dominating the generous wine room’s expansive display. 

“The curvature also creates an amphitheatre effect with the central wine table being the focus within the cellar, where theatre, entertaining and the collection all meld together,” Fanning says. 

Cars were even at the back of the designer’s mind when selecting furniture, focusing on pieces that would age as gracefully as a vintage Jaguar while delivering impact on arrival. 

Ligne Roset togo from Domo 

“It was imperative that our clients accrue a collection of pieces that were both classic and emerging in design,” Fanning says. “Whether it’s the seafoam green tufted Chester Moon Sofa by Baxter greeting its residents in the formal living room, or the fine brass Avoa Chair by Matter Made anchoring the commissioned Colin Pennock painting, these pieces have been carefully positioned to tell a unique story.”

The story of the award-winning, open-plan kitchen, dominated by a stone island, is easier to interpret. While the stone delivers a memorable monolithic moment, this is a place for serious entertaining, with the black and stainless appliances merging seamlessly with custom timber veneers.

“The design of this project does not deliver a themed look but a custom approach to kitchen design incorporating a timeless aspect with the use of authentic, visually aesthetic materials and product selection,” Fanning says. “Quality and authenticity are an integral element to sustainability.”

Brokis Capsula pendant from ECC
Lee Broom Fulcrum candlestick from ECC

While stone offers considerable challenges when creating a cosy home environment, conquered by Fanning’s holistic approach, it was custom details such as the living room fireplace and the cocktail cabinet, offering visual temptation from the formal dining area, that tested the team’s design skills.

“These aspects were challenging and also rewarding as the design was worked through to every millimetre from each material to junction joint to working with 1:1 as built prototypes,” Fanning recalls.

Even with hefty materials and considerable customisation, the home proceeded from concept to moving-in at a speed normally reserved for German autobahns, taking a mere two years.

“Our proudest moment was looking at our clients’ faces as they entered the completed home,” Fanning says. “From a design perspective, the planning, flow, customisation through to delivery, getting that right, feeling that space and knowing everything you have worked through is executed to a craftsmanship high level is a very proud moment that stays with us forever.”

Design


Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

This transparent furniture trend is a stylish exercise in creative contradiction

Melding modern lines with a romantic garden outlook, this home is the epitome of quietly confident luxury
The Last Dance

The best documentaries and docu-series to watch right now

An evening spent devouring episode after episode of the latest binge-worthy series? Indulgent. An evening spent glued to a juicy documentary? Educational. Simply put, there’s always a good excuse to expand your horizons with the latest and greatest in documentary filmmaking.

From the utterly engrossing to the incredibly uplifting, these are the documentaries and docu-series you must make time to watch.

Beastie Boys Story
Written and directed by Spike Jonze, this hotly-anticipated documentary sees Beastie Boys Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz divulge personal stories that span across their band, their fame and 40 years of friendship. Watch on Apple TV

(Un)Well
Hot on the heels of The Goop Lab‘s vampire facials and magic mushroom teas, this new Netflix documentary asks an important question: ‘Are we falling victim to false promises?’. (Un)Well examines the incredibly lucrative wellness industry, the controversial products and therapies it touts, and the people choosing to use them. Watch on Netflix

The NZ International Film Festival
Discerning doco fans know the annual NZIFF offers one of the best opportunities to see the year’s most highly-anticipated documentary films. This year’s festival gives the audience the opportunity to stream selected films (like The Kingmaker) from home for a truly unique experience. See our full round-up of must-watch picks from NZIFF 2020

Disclosure
This eye-opening and important documentary focuses on transgender representation in Hollywood, how historically problematic on-screen stereotypes and tropes have been, and in turn what effect this has had on trans people’s lives and American culture. Watch on Netflix

Dick Johnson Is Dead
In this funny and poignant rumination on life and death, filmmaker Kirsten Johnson comes to terms with the fate of her father as he battles Alzheimer’s. Heartfelt and moving, Johnson works with her father to stage his death in various ways, until accepting the inevitability of his situation. Watch on Netflix

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Starting at Camp Jened, a free-spirited camp designed for teens with disabilities, this award-winning documentary followers the inspiring stories of campers who became activists for the disability rights movement in the 1970s. Watch on Netflix

The Truffle Hunters
Set in the forests of Northern Italy, a fertile site for sourcing the much-coveted (and rare) white Alba truffle, this documentary follows a small group of dogs and their elderly Italian owners — the only ones who can find the truffle — as they strive to keep the tricks of their trade secret. Coming soon

The Last Dance
If you haven’t watched this wildly popular series, we recommend you do so immediately. Following the career of era-defining basketball star, Michael Jordan and his time with the Chicago Bulls, the series features never-seen-before footage, a delightfully nostalgic soundtrack and moments that will remind you why the Jordan name will live forever in legend. Watch on Netflix

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
This series takes a stark look at the details of the Jeffrey Epstein case and the lives ruined by his sordid dealings. Pulling the curtain back on his high-profile associates, and how Epstein used his influence to get what he wanted, this is an upsetting but essential watch. Watch on Netflix

McMillion$
Examining the story behind the fraud that marred McDonalds’ Monopoly game, this six-episode series delves into how, between 1989 and 2001, US$24million was won in a competition rigged by someone who figured out how to cheat the system. Watch on Neon

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark
Based on the best-selling book by late author Michelle McNamara, this chilling six-part true-crime series follows McNamara’s dogged investigation into the then unsolved crimes of The Golden State Killer, a serial killer and predator who terrorised California throughout the 1970s and 80s. Unflinching in its examination of both obsession and loss, Oscar-winning director Liz Garbus masterfully brings this complex tale to life. Watch on Neon

Athlete A
In a year of spectacular sports documentaries (like the aforementioned The Last Dance), Athlete A should be considered the most important. The docu-series shines a spotlight on the shocking crimes of Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, the toxic organisation that actively covered it up, and the brave survivors who fought against the system that was set against them. Watch on Netflix

Becoming
Go behind-the-scenes with former First Lady Michelle Obama as she embarks on a blockbuster tour for her best-selling memoir of the same name. The film (produced by the Obama’s own production company) tells Michelle’s story — from her humble roots to her history-making turn in the White House and beyond. Watch on Netflix

Culture


What’s the deal with ASMR? We shed some light on this fascinating sensory trend

Need a new series? Add these addictive TV shows to your watchlist this weekend

What should you read next? These 5 engrossing novels deserve a place on your bookshelf
Mike Thorburn. Photo: Jeremy Hooper

My inspirations: ECC’s Mike Thorburn on the one thing to consider when designing a home

As the figurehead of a family business that was started by his grandfather in 1909, Mike Thorburn not only has an undeniable eye for impeccable design, but is also one of the local industry’s most adored personalities. Passionate about making world-class exceptional design available to New Zealanders, here he shares some insight into his inspiring world.

“I’m forever inspired by European culture, its history is so rich. I feel pretty blessed that my work allows me to be exposed to such history and immense creativity. I’ve been to the Milan Fair annually for the past 40 years, I still come away from Italy feeling totally inspired and excited for what is happening next.

When I’m in Milan, I always make the effort to get together for dinner with many of our suppliers, I also love to catch up with designer Marcel Wanders. Not only is he a very funny man, he has an incredibly creative mind and our conversations just flow. We could talk all night.

Lawrence Sofa by Minotti from ECC

I think as a business we relate so well with the Italians. We’ve worked with the Minotti and Guzzini families for decades. As a family business, we carry and value a deep sense of connection with our clients and suppliers. It’s these relationships and the strong family bond that makes for great business.

My sons and I have a huge focus on relationships, we’ve worked with so many of our clients across generations, and many of them have become our friends.

If there’s one thing people need to consider more when they are designing homes it’s the lighting. The architects we work with do this so well. We are constantly working on new projects around the country and I’m always amazed at what we achieve with the latest lighting technology.

From left: Portofino chair by Minotti from ECC; Superloon light by Flos from ECC

Classics never go out of style. The most iconic designs we have carried over the last 30 years, such as Artemide’s Tolomeo lamp by Michele De Lucchi, which proves to be just as popular today.

Similarly, I love classic pieces, my favourites are the Portofino chair by Minotti and the Superloon light by Flos. You also cannot go wrong by choosing a sofa that is classic.

A sofa should be comfortable, durable and timeless. The Italians are masters of this balance, in particular Minotti who reliably offer a structured aesthetic with comfort and abiding appeal.

Cloud Pendant by Apparatus from ECC

I’m really noticing a strong movement towards people wanting things that are both original and organic in nature. Brands such as Anna Karlin, Apparatus Studio and Henge create spectacular pieces of furniture and lighting that are sculptural and finished in a manner that makes them truly one of a kind.

I just finished watching the first virtual release of the 2020 Minotti Collection and I was blown away. They do so well to reinvent their designs year after year. The latest collection features more tactile and organic details, I think everybody is wanting to feel more connected to the environment at the moment.”

Design


Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

This transparent furniture trend is a stylish exercise in creative contradiction

Melding modern lines with a romantic garden outlook, this home is the epitome of quietly confident luxury

With a new breed of electric vehicles, BMW is steering the planet towards a better future

Despite brands throwing the term around like a tired tennis ball, ‘luxury’ remains the definitive description for cars that are the ultimate expression of form and function. Comfortably laying claim to this status in the past were vehicles that merely managed to combine cool craftsmanship with cutting edge technology and a sense of pride that lasted longer than that inimitable new vehicle scent. But today’s drivers want more than just elegance and attitude.

True luxury with cars is no longer just about the impressive destinations you will head to when you accelerate out of the showroom but the journey your vehicle has already been on before you take the driver’s seat. It’s something that BMW not only understands but has been putting into practice for well over a decade, making sustainability as great a priority
as safety and comfort. 

“There is a proven correlation between affluent consumers and demands for sustainable products – BMW Group is at the forefront of this trend,” says Karol Abrasowicz-Madej, managing director of BMW New Zealand. With BMW controlling more than a quarter of the luxury car market in this country, the impact of this concerned customer base going greener is seriously significant. 

While in the past many of the premier German auto manufacturer’s environmentally-conscious practises have taken a backseat to other features, in 2020 and 2021 sustainability is front and centre with the release of increasingly efficient electric models, setting a new burnished benchmark for luxury.

The eagerly awaited X3 xDrive30e PHEV all-wheel drive petrol-electric crossover will join the popular SUV line-up, as the seventh electrified BMW to arrive on our shores. “We like to give our customers the opportunity to select a vehicle fit for them, giving them the power of choice,” Abrasowicz-Madej says. “The advanced BMW PHEV system in the X3 xDrive30e is ideal for those who want to take the first step towards an electric future.”

The plug-in hybrid has a consumption of between 2.1–2.4 litres per 100km, emitting only 49–54 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. On top of this the X3 xDrive30e can reach up to 135km/h on battery power alone, depending on the driving mode, and will recharge using a BMW iWallbox in only three and a half hours.

Driving the sustainability message even further, the iX3 SUV will be fully electric, producing zero emissions, along with zero noise pollution, as it silently glides along country roads with a range of 440km, making use of the company’s fifth-generation e-drive technology.

This is just the beginning of a brighter outlook from your windshield, with other ecologically-conscious models, such as an i4 Gran Coupe on the way, but there are hidden depths to BMW’s greening of your garage that are not immediately apparent when you first buckle up.

While cars can be customised using ethically-sourced upholstery and recycled plastics, it’s beneath the bonnet that the sustainability game has dramatically changed, with BMW taking responsibility last year for the sourcing of materials used in the all important electric vehicles. 

Lithium is now sourced directly for BMW batteries from hard rock deposits in Australia under the strictest sustainability standards. “We are fully aware of our responsibilities: Lithium and other raw materials must be extracted and processed under ethically responsible conditions,” says Dr Andreas Wendt, a member of the Board of Management of BMW.

While there are serious concerns about the sourcing of lithium by other manufacturers from mines in Africa where child labour is employed, BMW now controls its supply chain from Australia, where greater regulations are enforced.

Supply chain confidence is now an important part of the new luxury experience, where taking pride in owning a BMW can extend far beyond the signature badge. You can still pick from a selection of colours for your upcoming hybrid and electric vehicles but beneath the surface your investment is significantly greener and that should remain in fashion for a much better future.

Coveted


Step into spring with these stylish, easy-to-wear slides

The world’s most desirable luxury activewear brand, Moncler opens its Auckland boutique

The new sleepwear collaboration between Papinelle and Karen Walker is in bloom
Omni's katsu sando.

Omni is the new restaurant bringing yakitori and natural wine to Dominion Rd

Word has been buzzing about Omni, the newest addition to Dominion Road that’s got foodies flocking to the city fringe.

Describing their 25-seat venue as a bar-estaurant, owners John Yip and Jamie Yeon are running a smart yet approachable operation with a succinct, tasty and original menu alongside an excellent wine list of predominantly natural wines. 

The duo says they were inspired by the concept of an izakaya where eating and drinking go hand in hand, and while Omni is not a Japanese restaurant, its menu comprises both a selection of yakitori and small sharing dishes.

The food also champions chef Yip’s love for cooking over fire, which he discovered while working in Norway.

“I’m not really into technology. I like using intuition,” he says. “I find it much more satisfying, cooking over fire… it imparts bigger flavours and is all about touch, smell and feel.”

From left: Meatballs, egg yolk tare (dipping sauce); Octopus

The art and technique of yakitori was then honed at famed Hong Kong yakitori restaurant Yardbird, sparking the idea for something back in Auckland. 

Cooked on a specially-designed grill from Tokyo, the skewers make for variety-filled eating. The dishes are seasonal and evolving, but you might find the likes of chicken meatballs served with a whole gleaming egg yolk, for dipping; chicken thighs with green onion; or grilled octopus. 

Whipped snapper with bread

In the next section down, sharing dishes like the raw fish with salted yuzu and white soy, the katsu sando and the whipped snapper are all must-order.

Fresh and deceptively simple, the raw fish dish sings with its base of the creamy, slightly tangy white soy spread. You’ll gobble up the katsu sando with its juicy, handground, panko-coated chicken patty, and the whipped snapper appears as a moreish dip served alongside warm, fluffy bread.

There is also a selection of vegetable-focused dishes, which will evolve with the seasons, and a set menu which allows diners to leave the ordering to the experts and try a selection of the full offering.

From left: Katsu sando; Raw fish with salted yuzu and white soy

The wine list has been curated to pair brilliantly with Omni’s grilled flavours. Featuring minimal intervention, organic and biodynamic wines from New Zealand, Australia and France, you’ll find interesting and delicious sparkling, white, red and orange drops. There are also highball cocktails and a small selection of locally-brewed beers.

With Yeon taking great care of diners front-of-house and Yip working his magic over the grill, Omni will have you planning your next trip back as soon as you leave.

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 5:30PM – 10:00PM
Sunday and Monday: Closed

Omni
359 Dominion Road, Mount Eden
Auckland

atomni.co.nz

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward