Fash­ion for­ward

Kow­tow’s sleek new Welling­ton store

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When Gosia Pi­atek launched her fash­ion la­bel Kow­tow more than a decade ago, eth­i­cal and sus­tain­able val­ues were her foun­da­tion. The brand’s new flag­ship store in Te Aro, Welling­ton, con­tin­ues the theme of con­scious fash­ion and con­sid­ered de­sign. Work­ing with in­te­rior ar­chi­tect Ru­fus Knight, Pi­atek has re­alised a sim­ple yet gen­er­ous aes­thetic with large store­front win­dows and gallery-like spa­ces. “The store open­ing is an op­por­tu­nity to bring the Kow­tow ethos into a phys­i­cal space,” says Pi­atek. “Ev­ery de­tail was con­sid­ered – from the re­cy­cled ny­lon rugs to the New Zealand-grown and milled tim­ber.” Why did you open the store? GOSIA PI­ATEK We wanted to give Kow­tow a phys­i­cal home, some­where we could show our cus­tomers what a Kow­tow space looks like. We wanted it to be an ex­ten­sion of the brand – min­i­mal, beau­ti­fully crafted and sus­tain­ably made. What are the main de­sign in­flu­ences here? I love the mix­ture of a Scan­di­na­vian and Ja­panese aes­thetic, which is the same for our cloth­ing de­sign. We wanted a space that wouldn’t com­pete with our cloth­ing, a gallery-like space with a min­i­mal yet warm feel­ing, made with the most sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als New Zealand has to of­fer. From the get go, Ru­fus sug­gested that we bring in a hand-crafted el­e­ment and we ap­proached ce­ramic artist Gi­don Bing, who we’ve col­lab­o­rated with in the past, to cre­ate hun­dreds of crackle-glaze tiles for our counter top and shelv­ing. It was im­por­tant for the space to feel crafted, which has been achieved with join­ery by Welling­ton’s Mak­ers Fabri­ca­tion [part of Mak­ers of Ar­chi­tec­ture], who phys­i­cally brought the space to life. Your brand has eth­i­cal and sus­tain­able val­ues at its core – how did this in­flu­ence de­sign de­ci­sions? I think this was the most ex­cit­ing as­pect of the en­tire project and Ru­fus was very clever in ap­proach­ing Mak­ers of Ar­chi­tec­ture, who are also

Above Ce­ramic tiles by Gi­don Bing top a side board, with two ‘Flask’ vases, also by Gi­don Bing.

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