A Look Inside: Yu Mei Lounge Newmarket

Words by Yu Mei

Yu Mei Lounge, 8 Kent Street, Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand.

Behind the brilliant white façade of a former metal foundry lies our newest Yu Mei Lounge. Though with its ambitious size and multiple entertaining options, it’s probably closer to a whole  Yu Mei Residence.

Designed with Knight Associates, the space is delineated by three distinct zones. At the front is the reception area, where you’ll find our current season range. Through the glass double doors is the gallery space, featuring a shoppable archive of past season styles, and a display of artworks by some of our favourite contemporary artists. Past the gallery, you’ll find the salon—a lounge area with a full kitchen fitted out by Fisher & Paykel. Because any good host needs the tools to whip up a batch of freshly baked cookies when guests drop in.

For the design of the space, it was important for us to use materials that reflect our commitment to regenerative utility. For instance, Oamaru stone, which hails from the same South Island region as our signature deer nappa, was used for a series of monolithic plinths. Opposite these sit a pair of vintage Jean-Marie Massaud occasional chairs, which have been reupholstered in Doeskin deer nappa from our Autumn Winter 21 collection.

When it came to choosing the decor, we wanted to keep things warm and inviting. One of our favourite pieces is a bulbous Camaleonda sofa by Mario Bellini, which softens the ambience of an austere red brick wall, a feature of the building’s heritage. Generous curves on a pair of Frank O. Gehry Wiggle Chairs add a playfulness to the space—these iconic chairs, first designed in 1972 are fashioned from layers of corrugated cardboard. Rounding out the decor is a silk bamboo rug by Nodi, and a coffee table from Simon James.

A uniting feature of each of the Yu Mei lounges is the focus on art. In Wellington, there’s a gallery wall featuring a rotation of pieces on loan from neighbouring galleries. While still under construction, the Newmarket space exhibited an installation by emerging artist Ashleigh Taupaki as part of our partnership with Auckland Art Fair. For the permanent display, we procured a sculpture by Yona Lee titled Succession No. 9, 2020, and a quintessential hemisphere work by Gretchen Albrecht titled Study 4, 2020, from the series ‘4 Studies Under Lockdown.’ A key outcome of our Newmarket lounge is to connect with our community and fellow Club Yu Mei members, and art provides a platform to exchange ideas and foster this connection.

We invite you to visit our lounge at 8 Kent Street, Newmarket and stay a while. We hope it feels as familiar and comfortable as a home.

Succession No.9 by Yona Lee next to our shoppable archive wall

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