Porters Paints enliven Christchurch market - Lifestyle NZ
Porters Paints enliven Christchurch market

Porters Paints enliven Christchurch market

In the hands of a clever mural artist, Porters Paints was used to create the textural magic that brings a warm and authentic aged flavour to Christchurch’s Riverside Market.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

The owners’ vision for the new inner-city hospitality and produce market in Oxford Street was for an amazing world-class attraction that was timeless, where people felt comfortable, inspired and welcome. They wanted it to become a special part of everyday life in the city and to feel like it had been there for years. Importantly, they also wanted it to be uniquely Canterbury’s market, a community gathering place, a reflection of the past and a celebration of the diversity of Christchurch. 

It was a tall order for designer Georgie Inglis of Kirkcaldie Interiors, charged with creating the vibrant atmosphere that would attract visitors and make it their favourite place.

She drew inspiration from her travels through Italian markets. Closer to home, her design references the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, incorporating elements salvaged from destroyed buildings including bricks from the 1905 Duncan’s Building, iron-bark timber from the Lyttleton Wharf, windows from the Harbour Building, 70 year old vintage wallpaper and two faces of the heritage clock from the destroyed Moorhouse Ave railway station.

Riverside Market, Christchurch featuring French Wash
The salvaged, recycled, upcycled and vintage pieces reinforce a sustainable flavour and make the space more cohesive and engaging...

She says, the salvaged, recycled, upcycled and vintage pieces reinforce a sustainable flavour and make the space more cohesive and engaging. They also help make it feel like it has been a slice of the city fabric for many years.

A photo taken of the façade of an Italian market was the starting point for the eclectic finishes, textures and colours encountered throughout the building.

To provide the authentic, aged atmosphere, four walls of the voluminous first floor central interior space were treated to paint finishes that bring interest and warmth.

Along a high 40 metre long, almost 1500sqm wall, a mural painted with windows to another world sets the scene below tall pitched ceilings of antique wood. The effect is like looking through an old exterior brick wall to the inside of shops where there is a gallery, children looking onto a piazza, a woman making pizza and a cat peering out.

The entire scene was replicated through Porters Paints and mural artist Brendon Ryan was the skilled craftsman who brought each window to life using a combination of finishes and textures created with Porters Paint oxides and limewash powders.

“Porters Paints specialty products made it possible to recreate the aged patina we wanted,” says Inglis. Because Brendon has worked with Porters for 30 years, he is a master at creating authentic paint finishes. These effects could only be achieved through the combination of specialty product and clever installer.

“Brendon is also great at mixing colours and goes beyond choosing from the paint swatch, blending his own for subtleties that truly bring his art to life.”

Riverside Market in Christchurch

Inglis explains Brendon’s technique is to apply the colour, then he sands it off. “The plaster absorbs the colour and gives the wall an irregularity so it no longer appears flat and one dimensional.”

In faded browns, blues, creams and tans, the colour palette of the mural formed Inglis’ reference point for hues in the rest of the market which unfolds around every corner to make visitors feel as if they are on an exciting journey of discovery.

A huge 20 metre high wall incorporates huge geometric shapes in layers of paint colour and plaster to tie in with tiles used in a wainscoting effect below.

In another area, 40 wooden fish swim across a wall painted in a Porters limewash which make it appear imperfect and surreal. Beautiful textures and patinas everywhere lend atmosphere to make the market a place people want to keep exploring.

From the moment it opened, Riverside Markets has been a huge success, not just for the 60 tenants, but it has brought the city alive. Inglis says foot traffic has increased by 25% and uplifted surrounding retail sales.

In no small part due to its extraordinary paint effects and vibrant atmosphere, it has become an exceptional asset to Christchurch city.

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