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New Zealand Home & Building, October-November 1985

Expression of taste

page 70

Expression of taste

page 71
left: Wah Chong. Right: Gretel Lukas.

left: Wah Chong. Right: Gretel Lukas.

Inscape Design Ltd, Auckland is the northern home of the successful Wellington firm of the same name. Gretel Lukas and Wah Chong provide the Auckland expertise for this branch of the business in regular consultation with Duncan Dempsey the managing director from Wellington.

The practice is to be found housed in a classic two-storey Ponsonby villa. Its original features have been retained and the front door accentuated by a trellis-roofed portico. The feeling is austere, yet generous and achieves an elegant sophistication. The subtle tonings of the colour scheme are acquiring a following among houses in the neighbourhood.

The inner city suburban location of this firm was chosen with deliberate care, encompassing as it does several aspects of Inscape's philosophy. The use of a house as their base provides a superb background for the delightful mixture of antique and modern furniture. It is also an inspired, interesting and yet relaxed place for their clients to be. Moreover there is ease of accessibility and parking.

The range of work commissioned from this company has been all encompassing, but today is mostly that of commercial interiors, the hospitality industry and even the interior design of yachts.

Their approach is simple, preferring as they do the elegant, non-cluttered look, which they achieve through the use of timeless, quality furniture and fittings against a background of subtly toned colour.

Their own building, both inside and out echoes this approach, expressing their philosophy and the designers' own taste. The space is intended to be an expression of style rather than specifically as an advertisement of ability.

The designers at Inscape strongly empathise with a style that is responsive to both the arts and the technology of our time. The technical systems approach to interiors is a style which although almost unknown in New Zealand at the present time, is one that appeals. They would, however, be keen to combine this super functional look with the use of New Zealand native timbers, wool and planting.

"Our objective," said Gretel Lukas, "is to use everyone's strength — and produce a design that people, all people can relate to."

Inscape are not slavish followers of a New Zealand style or an international one, but have the ability to juxtapose ideas and pieces of art with skill and flair. The art they display there is all work done by New Zealand artists, potters and weavers. This is a conscious statement by these designers of their belief and intent.

That the makers of taste, have taste themselves, is self evident as you enter these premises, and as you leave you are warmed by the memory of their use of colour and of elegance achieved.

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