Connected to a time and place - Furniture and Decorating NZ
Connected to a time and place

Connected to a time and place

The designs coming out of LyZadie Design Studio communicate a story of the history and landscape of New Zealand as told through the craftspeople inspired by this country we call home.

Words by Justin Foote

“I love design; all facets of it. I am an artist/designer/architect who resists being ‘classified’. I don’t want to be put into a box—that only restricts other areas of exploration,” says Lyzadie Renault, Director of LyZadie Design Studio.

“I trained as an architect at the Architecture School at Auckland University and at the Architectural Association in London and that critical thinking around design and form and function led to me examining furniture as an extension of the building in which it is placed. What I couldn’t understand was, in a country with a rich architectural fabric, why we didn’t have modern, New Zealand-made furniture aimed at the luxury market; and so, I established my furniture and product design studio in 2018.

“At the start, it was just me sketching my ideas out and then I started collaborating with a draftsperson, Josh Curtis, who worked them up in CAD and the vision started to become a reality. I like to collaborate and get people to step up and contribute their ideas. Sometimes my ideas don’t naturally translate to the chosen material and that’s where other collaborators bring their expertise to the situation and help come up with the end product.”

Lyzadie says the landscape from which she draws inspiration also figures heavily in the ethos behind the company.

“I’m always thinking about the environment in terms of the materials used and the impact of that on the land. This led me to, amongst others, Treology, a maker who uses recycled timbers. It’s a rather organic process, that of gathering partners to work with and I am very grateful that they’re aligned with my vision. We’ve all learned a lot from each other.

Above: The table top for the BLACKTREEFERN side table is handcrafted by Treology from recovered river matai. Below: The completed table, with powder coated matte black steel legs by Metalroom, is as much an artwork as it is a piece of furniture.

LyZadie Design Studio: from concept to completion

“As a designer, I am heavily influenced by New Zealand iconography and telling stories to people overseas using our ‘language’. Globally, people love New Zealand and want to make that connection. Our customers feel deeply about what they’re buying—our pieces represent a connection to a time and place as well as to themselves.

“That is the beauty of these pieces, they are not mass produced; there’s no shop that you can buy them in, they’re crafted as they’re ordered and that makes it more personal. Currently, we offer eight bespoke collections, each comprising a range of ‘standard’ products. These products allow us to introduce customers to the materials and concepts and then we allow them to customise these to their requirements, either through the substitution of different materials or custom sizes.”

Materials chosen include recycled timbers, brass, stone, steel, leather, glass and rammed earth.

“Customers may choose to use a different stone, or choose a different pigment colour for those pieces with rammed earth components, or even a different pattern to a particular piece. Different colours and different shapes—it can all be accommodated.

“If a client requested it, I would also consider making a custom, one-off piece for them. Translating peoples’ concepts comes naturally to me, so I would definitely give it a go. I also love working together with interior designers and other professionals on pieces that they can incorporate into their clients’ homes.

LyZadie Design Studio's artisanal collaborators work on a number of pieces including (from left) designs from the TUI, WHITECLOUD and EARTH&SKY Collections.

LyZadie Design Studio: a tribute to nature

“I find that I decompress in nature. I feel a deep connection with New Zealand and its landscape. The collections I draw—such as FLOW, which is inspired by the braided rivers of the South Island—connect back to that source of inspiration, through the use of specific materials and shapes and stories. Customers can take that on and weave that into their own narrative.

“Other collections, such as ‘Ripples’ also come from an exploration of nature. In this case, the Milford Track, which I hiked recently and which really struck a chord with me. A ripple could start anywhere in the world but these are uniquely New Zealand.

“My latest collection, Windows To My Soul, is a response to the universal experience of being in lock down. Looking at a global event from a personal level.”

It may be this personal exploration of universal truths that resonates with a global audience and which saw Lyzadie invited to exhibit at Milan Design Week within the first six months of starting the design studio.

“That was something that I obviously wasn’t expecting but it was a great privilege and experience and led to getting agents in both London and Paris, which has allowed me to showcase the work of our talented artisans on a global stage. However, LyZadie Design Studio very much remains a New Zealand story and business.”

Lyzadie says that because each piece is made to order, the turnaround for furniture is 12 weeks and is six weeks for lighting products. Shipping is free within New Zealand and the company also ships worldwide.

“Our clients love art and architecture and are used to the time constraints associated with custom pieces. That said, I do always try to keep the turnaround of the drawings to a week.

Learn more about the designs of LyZadie Design Studio.

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