And we are back in the new year, in which we will start a lot of new exciting projects and share more beautiful stories both under the Another Something & Co. flag as within Our Current Obsessions: stay with us to be a part of another amazing year. Today we go back to 2014 one last time, and shine light on the incredible book ‘Down the long driveway, you’ll see it,’ which was released at the end of last year by writer Matthew Arnold and photographer Mary Gaudin. In the book a tremendous collection of photographs is gracefully presented, showcasing some of the most beautiful modernist homes in New Zealand, ranging from being built in 1950 until 1974. The somewhat ambiguous title of the book derives from a phrase in an email from one of the owners of the houses, Bruce Martin, giving directions to his home at the rural Māori settlement and surrounding area in Hawke’s Bay, named Bridge Pā. When Matthew and Mary arrived at the lovely house, they found a lifetime’s of pottery in it, made by both Bruce and his wife Estelle, together with gifts from potter friends. As this exquisite mix of craftsmanship and design turned out to be reminiscent for all the one-of-a-kind homes shown in the book, the quote became a symbol for this extraordinary project.
These houses aren’t new, they’re old and lived in. They can be a little dusty, slightly worn around the edges and all have what antique dealers like to call “patina”. But they’re perfect in the minds of the people who live in them because of what they represent, which when designed, was a better way of living.
The idea for the project wasn’t just about documenting the houses in purely architectural terms, but to give an abstraction of the way these houses were and are lived in, as well as showing details of the designs and the materials used in their construction. It may not be a surprise that Mary Gaudin, who is originally from New Zealand, but lives in Montpellier and London has been a contributing photographer for Freunde von Freunden, which clearly shows in her beautiful photographs, catching the premises in an elegant fashion, without losing touch with the personal dimension to be found in a space for living. A style which seamlessly enhances the modernist signature of using native timbers throughout architectural forms, which gives an warm feel to the interiors, combined with the fine personal touches of its residents, resulting in a wonderful collection of very elegant homes.
I also wanted to look at the way these houses fitted into their surroundings. All of the Wellington homes are connected to native bush, attracting tuis, fantails and bellbirds amongst other native birds. The owners of the Einhorn house, which backs onto the Karori bird sanctuary, sometimes see rare hihi feeding in their garden. The front of the Manning house is surrounded by an enormous pohutakawa tree which, from inside the house filters views out towards Auckland’s harbour bridge.
For more information and to buy the book see here.