Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Shops that pass in the night 8

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For a change, let's look somewhere other than Harbour Quays, and get some retail therapy. Ghuznee St has developed a reputation for rapidly-changing retail, but it's not the only place that's been subject to change. The block of Featherston St between Waring Taylor and Johnston streets has gradually become a key part of the "Silver Mile", and all of a sudden it's going through a whole lot of closures and openings.

This used to be a mini art precinct, with the Ferner and Tinakori galleries on this block, the McGregor Wright gallery just around the corner and Crossroads books also selling an interesting range of prints. The latter two went a little while back, driven out by increasing rents, but the former seemed to be going strong. Then, all of a sudden, they were gone.

Former site of Tinakori and Ferner galleries, soon to be deNada boutique and Design ZooThe Tinakori Gallery moved to the Chews Lane development, eagerly seizing the opportunity for a larger exhibition space, and describing the move as "a natural progression, as ... the Willis/Cuba quarters embrace their collective definition as an arts-based hub." Ferner, on the other hand, has withdrawn from the Wellington market entirely. Their website just refers to it closing "following the expiry of the lease", but without any explanation as to why they didn't seek replacement premises.

Neither shop will be empty for long. Ferner's space is about to open as something called deNada, with a website that says "Your multifaceted life is there to be celebrated... with coffee, with music, with clothing that fits your body - no matter what shape you are... standard, big boobs, long legs - we've got it all covered." Most of that seems to point to clothing that is either custom-made or available in a range of sizes, which is confirmed by the fact that deNada is an alumnus of the Fashion HQ business incubator, and they aim to "celebrate the variances of our women customers' healthy bodies".

But the reference to coffee and music makes it sound like more than a standard boutique, and indeed their job ad claims that "deNada is an innovative new retail concept store ... encompassing female fashion and accessories, café, music and art". That sounds interesting, though it could always just be a shop with a coffee machine, a CD player and some paintings on the walls.

Next door, the Tinakori Gallery space is being fitted out for Design Zoo, which is currently based in Ngaio but is presumably the same outfit that was once where Burger Fuel is now, and before that was in Victoria St in what is now World.

Former site of Minnow home storeBut as one design store moves in, others depart: Minnow across the road departed very suddenly, and a block away next to Midland Park, Askew closed down a little while ago. The Askew site is empty, but without any "For Lease" signs, whereas the Minnow space is already being renovated. It's all quite exhausting!


At 4:10 pm, August 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's great to know the street is alive with curious types who read notes in small print on vacant shop windows!

'deNada' is set to launch in early September. Its all true re the coffee lounge, music, clothing, art... We really belive that everyones lives are different and varied, so we have put together a whole range of goodness in one place to meet people at their game - whatever that game is!

Whatever shape the girls are - we're celebrating that too; so as well as the standard sizes, we also have a range for girls with big boobs and girls with long legs. Everything is off the shelf - nothing is customised, just some are for different shapes.

And while the girls shop, impatient wait-ers can kick back in the lounge and listen to a boutique selection of lo-fi, lounge music on wireless MP3 players.

Art is local. Coffee is too.

Only a few weeks to wait!

At 11:21 am, August 21, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Thanks, Nada: it's always good to see people try something different with a retail space. It sounds like the sort of "interactive retail" that Wellington Waterfront Ltd is trying to attract to Kumutoto and the Overseas Passenger Terminal, so I'll be really intrigued to see how it turns out.

Oh, and if you do attract a lot of "girls with big boobs and girls with long legs", then you may find your shop becoming popular with men as well!


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