We like Christchurch's Rekindle, a fascinating firm making furniture out of demolition timber. We also like Shop Eight, the great cafe in New Regent Street it shares its headquarters with. HOME's Jeremy Hansen spoke to Juliet Arnott, Rekindle's founder, about the business. Guy Frederick took the photographs.
|Juliet Arnott, Rekindle's founder, in Shop Eight cafe. She's sitting at a table by Rekindle|
HOME We love your new café and studio space. What is it comprised of?
JULIET ARNOTT Downstairs is Liz Phelan’s Shop Eight, a café we built from materials diverted from landfill including handcrafted Rekindle furniture. Upstairs is our Rekindle shared studio space. In a city where built space is so limited we’re happily working to use the small space as resourcefully as we can. We hold evening events and forums that invite discussion from a diverse audience on topics of concern. It's certainly a space that encourages conversation.
|Shop Eight cafe is located in the refurbished Christchurch heritage zone of New Regent Street.|
What is Rekindle, and what made you want to start it?
Rekindle came out of my therapeutic concerns as an occupational therapist for those who have barriers to coping in working life, and my desire to use a creative process to problem-solve wood waste. I began to see that these concerns could be met via a social enterprise that uses wood waste to create employment and beautiful products. This began in Auckland but soon after the earthquakes I decided it was time to move back to Christchurch. Rekindle is young, but we are flowing some work to community groups here who need it, and building demand for our furniture in the store and online.
|A Rekindle chair in the company's workshop.|
You’re located in a strange heritage oasis in the midst of the red zone. What’s that – and life in Christchurch generally – like at the moment?
Yes it is strange, a beautiful old street set against a backdrop of demolition. We value the heritage enormously and have kept the street signage from the mid 1900s. The realities of loss are still very present in Christchurch, and we feel this particularly in our salvage work with home owners. But innovation and hope are strong features of daily life here, there are many passionate discussions about what could be.
|Rekindle furniture outside Shop Eight in Christchurch's recently reopened New Regent Street.|
Shop Eight and Rekindle are located at 8 New Regent Street, Christchurch. Click here for more information about Rekindle.