Jessie Wong, founder and director of luxury leather goods label, Yu Mei, has just opened her boldest retail concept yet, at 8 Kent Street Newmarket.
The Newmarket Lounge Concept will be home to a range of innovative retail and brand concepts where Yu Mei aims to blur the boundaries between retail brick-and-mortar and the brand’s growing digital retail presence. A residence-style space has been designed to include retail, lounge, gallery and event spaces which the brand will use to support the visual arts community.
“The Newmarket laneways precinct is a real hub of key New Zealand designers that we’re proud to be among” says Wong.
Materiality has been important to Wong, who wanted the residential-style space to be full of thoughtful details and regenerative materials that reflect the values of the brand. The space is anchored by an exposed red brick wall, harking to the heritage of the building – formerly a metal foundry, abridging the front of the store and the back area are walk through glass double doors down a wide hallway that functions as a gallery-style archive wall for Yu Mei’s past collections where the back of the space features a rear salon lounge area. Oamaru stone features on the plinths and shelving, which shares the same provenance as Yu Mei’s signature deer nappa that is farmed in the deep South. Honeyed onyx marble was carefully selected by Wong personally for the console table and point of sale island for its sense of history in its concentric veining.
Yu Mei already has two other retail concepts, Wellington is a kiosk style, suited to the shopping habits of Wellingtonians who like to stop by on their commute in the walking city and just downstairs from the brand’s workroom and headquarters; Commercial Bay, an upscale mall setting.