Recent history has shown us that summer for Arkade = madness. A glorious torrent of weddings, Christmas parties, sporting events, and general corporate event madness. While the world seems to be reaping the rewards of the previous year's hard work, we're clocking up serious right-arm-tans from all the trucking miles and getting our reps up moving our furniture in and out of venues all day, every day. That makes Winter an ideal time to decamp, take stock of what we've achieved and envision what the future holds for the furniture hire game. Here's a little peek behind the veil into our Golden Bay retreat.
There was a image that hung over my Norwegian-American grandfathers breakfast table in small-town Minnesota. 'Grace' by Eric Enstrom is iconic for many older Americans; my grandfather was no exception and in turn, it is iconic for me. It came back to me recently in moments of moody nostalgia as I was gathering pumpkins and bulbed vegetables for this shoot: flashes of country Minnesota, an older world, a simpler life perhaps.
It's fair to say that foraging has had a resurgence of late. We're all for pinching hydrangeas from the side of the motorway but when it comes to our friend's fruit trees, it's less foraging and more like pillaging. Our good friend and shirtmaker-extraodinaire, Sherie Muijs, recently invited Bonnie around to help her tame the bumper crop of persimmons from her tree. And pillage, she did! Here's the fruit from her labour, featuring our studio space, hire furniture, and Holly Houston Ceramics.
...and what have we done? True to form, it's been manic due to all the usual stuff; weddings, parties, last-minute manufacturing missions, shopping, office fit-outs, airport pickups and drop-offs, and so on and so forth. But does it really have to be this way??
We took a moment this week to reflect on what Christmas means to us. We're hoping this impending Christmas is intentional, simple, and heartfelt. Rather than aiming for a season that's bigger than Ben-Hur, we're going for something a bit more modest. So, here's to keeping this Christmas authentic and intimate.
Peace be with you.
Styling - Bonnie Machell
Florals - Floral Stylist
Photography - Bayly & Moore
Watercolour - Inky Words
When most people think of Wanaka, the first thoughts are usually snow-related. For us, the first things that comes to mind aren't thoughts but fragrances; George & Edi's fragrances to be exact. We recently had the pleasure of collaborating with them and not only are the scents incredibly lush, but they are aesthetically pleasing, crafted with utmost care, and local - you can almost picture them hand-pouring and wrapping their candles in a toasty, cabin, halfway up Mt Aspiring.
True favourites or ours are the Liquorice and We Surrender To Sleep candles. If you need a little luxury in your life, do yourself a favour and head over to georgeandedi.com.
In the furniture hire and events game, we see trends come and go. One thing we'd gladly see more of is botanical styling. At the behest of our resident stylist, Bonnie Machell, we teamed up with Waiheke native, Gemma Yeoman, from Flora And Fauna. Turns out, she's not only super-talented but totally great to be around in general.
Starting with one plant, one gold pot, and a dose of healthy prodding from friends, Gemma took a punt on dream and is now the force behind a burgeoning botanical empire. If you're home, office, or event is in need of some botanical love, Gemma has got you covered. Check out floraandfauna.nz for more info.
$30,000. That’s the magic figure often thrown about when referring to the average cost of a wedding. Whether or not that is backed by actual research or purely anecdotal, the point is this...wedding expenditure can get out of hand. Quickly. Dresses & suits. Rings. Venues. Handmade furniture. Bespoke table runners. Letterpress invites. Mexican food trucks. Interactive wedding invitation websites. Floral Crowns. Broken typewriters. Photobooths with funny moustaches and chalkboard signs....I’m sure you get the point.
We’re big believers in investing in the right stuff, and these 4 things are a pretty good place to start. Food, drink, entertainment, and images.
Food, drink, and entertainment, are the backbone of your wedding day’s vibe. Get these things right, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an incredible party on your hands. Your catering choices have the potential to not only refuel your guests but to make them come alive. Great drink selections will hydrate AND allow folks to let down their hair a little. As for entertainment, Slamming live band or vinyl DJ vs a Spotify playlist? No contest.
We also think investing in quality images is also a great place to spend your hard-earned cash. They’ll serve to remind you of what you’ve got: great people who love you and support you, and of course, each other.
Spend your time and energy getting these things right. Worry about the tiny details another day.
Let’s talk about the wedding schedule for a moment. If you’re deep into wedding planning then you’ve probably got multiple flowcharts, Excel spreadsheets, colour-coded documents, and a desktop of carefully titled stickies going on in earnest. You’ve also probably used the phrases ‘military operation’ and ‘carefully-orchestrated precision’ a little more often than usual. The best way to measure how much you’re gonna enjoy your wedding day is by how many times the word ‘schedule’ comes up.
A high ’schedule’ count usually means low enjoyability, and vice versa. So what to do? It’s pretty simple: do less. Strip away the complication. Don’t plan a precisely timed event that goes without a hitch. Rather, plan your wedding day: a once-in-a-lifetime day you can thrive in and remember for decades. The less you’re saying the word ‘schedule’ when you’re talking about your wedding day, the more likely you are to enjoy it.
There’s many ways to de-stress the day. Here are a few goodies:
i. Eliminate as much travel as possible. Travel is the enemy of feeling relaxed. You and your guests don’t want to be driving or sitting in traffic on your wedding day. Think about having the ceremony and reception at the same location - it saves on stress, expense, and means you don’t have to move all of your guests so they can get the party cranking. Consider getting ready as close to the ceremony location as you can, maybe even getting ready at the same house, but staying out of each other’s way. It makes for wonderful energy in the house.
ii. Have realistic timings for things. It’s a great rule to just add 30 mins on to most ‘deadlines’. Running 30-60 mins late is very standard and it’s usually because of things outside of your control (think: little kids having a meltdown, heavy traffic, herding the bridal party, general losing track of time, etc). Even if you’re normally an extremely punctual person, the fact is a wedding day is a very unusual beast. It’s a collision of family, friends, different locations, high emotion, a whole bunch of new and crazy experiences, and all of these things conspire to make a lot of time turn into no time at all. Fact. Things’ll run late. And it’s okay. Just allow plenty of time for it.
iii. Delegate well. Entrust the crucial responsibilities on your day to good people. There’s no need to be worrying all day about what your MC-aka-over-indulgent-cousin is going to blurt out at speech time, or having your good friend (who has a habit of bailing when it counts) in charge of the pack down. You know who they are: find the key people in your squad you can rely on and get them on board.
If you’ve spent much time talking to your friends or looking at weddings online you will have come across the idea of a ‘First Look’. Here’s the low-down.
Basically it means that a Bride and Groom meet up before the ceremony without family/friends/bridal party around, and they shoot all or some of their photos at the same time. In some parts of the world this is the very traditional way to do things: a couple will meet up on their own earlier (and in places like Italy they’ll get married in a civil ceremony first) and then they’ll do a very public ceremony later on in the day. There’s a whole bunch of pro’s to this kind of schedule:
i. You get to spend some time and go crazy, get emotional, let your hair down and revel in each other without being on show in front of a coupla hundred people.
ii. You instantly relax and the stress and anticipation melts away when you see each other for the first time, so you suddenly become way more ‘present’ for the rest of the day. It’s very normal to just freak out if you see each other for the first time in front of all of your family and friends, walking down the aisle on your wedding day - total emotional overload - so it’s a very human response to just glaze over and try and survive it. But if you’ve had some intimate time together beforehand, then you’re 100% present and aware of that ‘aisle moment’ and we notice that couples get two wonderful meet-up moments, rather than one awkward one.
iii. It means that you can have some fun earlier in the day - either just the two of you OR with your whole bridal party - meet up, have a picnic, hang out, take some photos, and generally ease into your wedding day by enjoying each other and your best mates. And then you change gears and head to the ceremony and party, and it just gets better and better.
iv. Your wedding day can take on a much more natural emotional flow. Time with each other, time with your friends, and then time with all of your guests without being dragged away from the party. There’s a natural flow from ceremony into wild party that’s one of the most wonderful parts of a wedding day and is some of the most memorable time you get with all of your guests on the day, so not having to be dragged away for a photo-shoot is an added bonus.
If a First Look is not your cup-o-tea or isn’t practical for your day, definitely consider grabbing a couple of glasses of your choice of beverage and sneak out of the reception to find a quiet corner by yourself for 10-15 mins. The party will be just fine without you while you and your new Mr/Mrs make a memory or two by yourselves.
The number of weddings we’ve either attended or worked would have to be in the high 3 figures and we’ve learnt a few things along the way, about which we routinely get asked. So routinely, that it’s about time we shared the love around in the hope that maybe you will strike some gold in the ensuing words.
To lead off we thought we’d proclaim (in our opinion) the greatest wedding commandment of all: Be True To Yourselves.
When most people think of weddings, they think of things such as a great looking couple, long-overdue catch-ups with old friends, awkward & endearing speeches, but weddings are actually about a huge amount of people, stuff, emotions, and plans all crammed into a space of 16 hours.
You’ll find that there are ‘moments’ happening left, right, and centre throughout the day and most of them are far from immaculately styled or picturesque but you’ll treasure them as much (or even more) than the more planned aspects of the day. The best thing you can possibly do is to design a day where you’ll feel at home, where you’ll feel genuinely yourself, surrounded by the people who love you and know you best.
All of the ‘stuff’ of a wedding day (location, budget, venue, weather, details, styling, food, cars) is really just a framework for you to fill with yourselves and the people who’ve made you who you are, so don’t get too hung up on slavishly sticking to traditions or what other people/blogs/magazines/family members tell you a wedding day should be.
Rather, be 100% true to yourself and plan a day that you’ll genuinely love. You’ll find the stress melts away and you can’t wipe the smile off your face all day long.
'Tis the season...to give stuff away! A ton of people are asking "Do you sell your tables and benches??". We're not quite ready to unleash them for sale but in the meantime we thought we'd giveaway a Arkade Trestle and Bench set!
If you see them out and about this summer, take a snap of them, tag us in and use the hashtag #winarkade and the Arkade Trestle and 2 Arkade Benches could be yours. We'll announce the winner on March 30!
We're right in middle of Popped Culture #2 and to be honest, weren't sure if Popped Culture #1 could be topped...we came to the conclusion that it had been, mumbling our approval while demolishing the Peanut Butter & Jelly on Freedom Loaf. Here's a little taste of what was on offer...
The Thanksgiving holiday is something we celebrate annually...and one of us is half-American so we figure why-the-heck-not?! When you think about it, it's a pretty amazing holiday: traditionally a celebration of the previous years harvest or in modern times, as George Washington put it, "a day of public thanksgiving to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God."
Regardless of your belief system, we think it's worthwhile to share and appreciate the good things in our lives over some mulled wine, pumpkin pie (and turkey, if that's your kind of thing.) So, why not get on board and host your own Thanksgiving this year...
We give special thanks to the following co-conspirators:
Bonnie Machell - Styling & Props
Bunny Creative - Styling & Props
Bayly & Moore - Images
St Clements - Furniture, Artwork, & Showroom
It pretty much starts with the same conversation each time – “Hey um...I’ve got this idea...what do you reckon?” “Keen. Let’s do it.” That’s how Arkade started, that’s how our furniture was designed, and that’s how Popped Culture found its origin. When Coffee Supreme pitched this totally-not-hairbrained coffee & toast scheme to us our answer was an immediate “Keen. Let’s do it.”
A few more conversations, a few location scouts, a few cups of the finest brew in the nation, a few legit collaborators, and here we are. Welcome to Popped Culture. Come up to level 12 and say hi.
We love dads.
Father’s Day is looming large and at Arkade, we are all very lucky to have a totally great dad. Our particular progenitors are pretty diverse bunch; they are all of similar age and clearly, all male, but between them have very different backgrounds, countries of origin, vocations, pet likes & dislikes, flavours of dad-jokes. They also possess some pretty incredible qualities, of which we are very grateful for. The one thing that unites them (apart from Arkade) is the task of raising a child. That’s a pretty tough gig...one well worth celebrating.
So this weekend we raise our glasses to the pro dads and the novices, the planned fathers and the surprise ones. To the helicopter dads and the risk-takers, the providers and the battlers. The immigrant fathers, the local legends. To the step-dads and the adopters. The handy and the clumsy, the sporty and the uncoordinated. The dads who have endured “the snip”, and the ones who aren’t quite done. Fathers Day is your day. Here’s to you...
There’s something about knowing where a thing was made - and who made it - that elevates things from just being ‘stuff’ and gives them a certain essence that’s pretty damn special. Like when you’re a kid and you discover that your favourite toy was made by your grandad, or that your cosy woollen hat was carefully knitted by your mum. Well this is the same experience that we’ve had in discovering the old-school workshops of Auckland, and the genius people of all ages who inhabit them. The last few months we’ve been seeing our ideas being refined and brought to life by sets of hands all over Auckland - whether it’s dip-stripping out the back of Avondale, welding in the CBD, glueing table-tops at Muriwai, or moulding plywood in Onehunga - and it’s been nothing short of amazing.
You may look at our collection go furniture and see a bunch of stuff, but we see people, long hours, hard-won skills, dirty workshops, and a wonderful collection of characters who can crack a fast joke and turn their skills into a very practical beauty. They’ve also very kindly taught us a whole wealth of stuff. Here’s a few of ‘em.
It’s hard to know exactly where to start, but if we had a manifesto, it’d probably be… this.
Better furniture. We all deserve it. So much of our lives are spent sitting on uncomfortable chairs, at tables so narrow that you have to enter negotiations with your table-mate over where to put your drink, and often in venues where you wished you’d brought that warm coat and pair of gloves.
Our fittings bear silent witness to such a large chunk of our lives, so shouldn’t they add to the story rather than remaining passive? Surely they should be more than just functional, and more than just good-looking. They should tell a tale of their own. That’s why we’ve deliberately sought out pieces locally, rather than straight off some container from another country. We’ve collaborated with local furniture mavens like Trestle Union and Libra Woodworking to bring our designs to life, scoured rural halls for under appreciated benches. Once we even spent an hour and a half debating the ideal depth of a couch. One of us even sustained a broken finger in the quest to bring you an incredible table.
We love style and self-expression. We love dinners and cocktail parties. We love wild ideas and visionaries. We love Brides and Grooms. We love helping people to create a memorable event. Furnishings should be so much more than just a bench to sit on or a table to rest a plate, rather they should add a verse or three to our stories. We hope our pieces do exactly that.”