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Dream It

Creating places with punch: meet the imaginationologists at Dream It who are designing clever new spaces in our city

As our new city starts to develop and people slowly make their way back into the central city, it will be interesting to see where the winners and the losers of the social scene will be. A bar that just pours beer will simply not make it any more. There need to be other reasons to go to that bar and stay there.

For graphic design and theming company Dream It Ltd, listening to its hospitality clients, consulting fully on ideas and actually delivering the product are the keys to both its success and to the success of the bars it designs and builds.
“I view myself as an imaginologist – but my team and I at Dream It also make what I imagine,” owner Dean Johnstone says.
“We build what we design. We don’t hand it over to someone else to implement and risk compromising the original concept.”
Dean’s imagination is seemingly limitless and not always conventional. “I once designed an in-home movie theatre in the form of a submarine wreckage ‘submerged’ in three-dimensional faux rocks with dramatic effects that can be pre-programmed and controlled.”
It’s this calibre of ability that has made Dean sought after in New Zealand, Australia and even the United States. Experienced Christchurch hospitality owner Max Bremner made sure he secured Dean and his team for the fit-outs of his three bars in The Terrace complex.

“Each bar has its own unique personality. That’s what we do. We took architectural designer John Ayers’ floor plans and added the character and identity. Fat Eddies is a ‘blues’ bar reflecting America in the 1930s and 40s; Kong is an art-deco styled cocktail bar reminiscent of a 1930s movie set where you wouldn’t be surprised to see Humphrey Bogart; Original Sin on the other hand takes those two words and plays on them with ecclesiastical architecture – a serpent, an apple and an Adam and Eve themed mural painted on carved concrete to resemble an old cracked oil painting.

Dream It
These bars were the first on the new ‘strip’ and have set a high standard. If you are wondering how they are doing, all you have to do is go there any night of the week and see places full of people having a great time.


Green with envy: make this classic colour a part of your home and you won’t regret it

It’s not surprising that this nature-inspired colour is the one most closely associated with envy, because that’s exactly what you’ll be inducing in visitors to your humble abode if you style with this sophisticated shade.

James Said
Linen House

With some traditional textures such as velvet and timber following this hue into the homewares realm, why not weave this nature-inspired hue into your interior palette. After all, it’s quite the gem.
When it comes to sprucing up your interiors, this heavenly hue in all its green glory, has never looked so good.
And, when it comes to colour psychology, it adds visual credence to the ‘green movement’, with its reported ability to improve self-esteem, reduce anxiety and heighten awareness of one’s surroundings.
As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side and in this instance, it really is, in the very best of ways.

Cymon Allfrey Column

One size doesn’t fit all: Columnist Cymon Allfrey on compact homes

Cymon Allfrey
Cymon Allfrey

With compact homes in the spotlight as a solution to housing, Architect Cymon Allfrey questions whether small really is better.

Cymon Allfrey Column

Cymon Allfrey ColumnIt has been wonderful to see such a celebration of architecture in the media recently, in particular that of small or compact homes: homes that are providing innovative solutions to living within a condensed floor plan.
While these houses are providing a more efficient way of living, they are not necessarily providing a more affordable solution to building. Small doesn’t necessarily mean low cost, yet more often than not we are seeing the lines blurred between the correlation of small and affordable, and vice versa.
While it is possible to establish a connection between affordability and size, what is often missed in this instance is an emphasis on design quality, which ultimately impacts the livability of the home. The size of your new home is only one consideration when it comes to achieving a high quality, affordable design.
While there is no specific definition of a compact home, it pays to note that we are talking about small, not tiny houses, which are typically semi-permanent structures of 50sqm or less.
Like all forms of architecture, compact homes see the architect apply a design solution to a number of different needs, wants and requirements: a unique typology for that homeowner, site and location. And, as with all successful architecture, a compact floor plan should be a direct response to the needs of that particular typology: one size doesn’t fit all and that is ok.
The question you need to ask yourself when planning your new home is whether small is right for you, your needs and your site. Context, in particular, is a key consideration as compact housing demands a high degree of local amenity; a way of living that is simply not suitable, or desirable, for all. A compact house on a large rural site, for instance, would fail to function as successfully as that of a suburban setting.
As architects and designers, it is our responsibility to be efficient in our design, no matter what the size of the home. A poorly designed small home is still a poorly designed home; the fact that it is small doesn’t mean it is instantly an example of ‘good’ design.
It is important to remember that it is not for anyone else to judge what you need in a home. It is however, your architect’s responsibility to fulfill your needs in a responsible way, whether this is in 70sqm or 350sqm.

We need to ensure we are celebrating successful architecture no matter what its size. The emphasis or definition of ‘good’ design needs to be around creating efficient, sophisticated living solutions first and ticking the box around size, second.