Architect Greg Noble's classical tastes

By Zoe Walker

There's a European influence in architect Greg Noble's list of favourite things.

Greg Noble with one of his favourite things, his iPad. Photo / Babiche Martens
Greg Noble with one of his favourite things, his iPad. Photo / Babiche Martens

Architecture is Greg Noble's passion; describing it as everyman's art and one of our "greatest, most touching and far reaching achievements". Noble set up his architecture practice in Parnell after moving back to Auckland from Britain in 2002, when he also opened Italian-focused design store GeorgiGregg Home with wife Georgie. An appreciation for combining history while exploring the new, Noble's aesthetic is that of classic French influence, lending itself to the tagline of the "New Classicists". He tells us more about some of his favourite design pieces.

10 FAVOURITE THINGS

1. Venetian gold rimmed wine glasses

These are hand-blown, fluted Murano glass. They have a most stunning sparkle and weight. This is Venetian glass at its best and they give me so much pleasure on a daily basis. I've broken just one in four years.

2. Poltrona Frau brown leather chaise

Made by Poltrona Frau in Italy, because it is so luxurious and so over the top. I know it is going to last me a lifetime and that one day my kids will squabble over who gets it (and that between now and then it will only get better). I love things that are permanent and age beautifully.

3. Little & Friday Christmas mince pies

We start every day with buns and coffee, and when mince pies start replacing the buns it heralds the beginning of my favourite time of year. Little & Friday are always generous with their ingredients - the mince is never too sweet and the shortcrust perfect. Delicious with a black coffee.

4. Palladio's Town Hall, Vicenza, Italy and St. Stephen's Chapel in Judges Bay

My list of favourites are generally things I love to see and enjoy every day. But for architectural beauty, my mind runs to the romantic and serene that has existed for centuries in Europe, and is also in little pockets here. I can accept natural beauty, but am struck dumb in the face of beauty created by man. Architecture is one of our greatest, most touching and far-reaching achievements and it is nowhere better understood and enjoyed in an everyday way than from the shaded colonnades or porches of these classical gems.

5. My iPad

My iPad has attached itself to me because it is so user-friendly. Love not having wires, love the touch screen, love the easy-to-use case. It carries all of my drawings, pictures, word files and magically keeps itself up to date.

6. Fisher Bullet pen

Still going after nine years, small enough to go in any pocket and therefore always at hand, lovely to hold and use and it seems to catch everybody's eye which is nice too.

7. Little rowing boat

Being long and narrow with a beautiful bottom and most sensuous belly, she is a joy to look at. We brought her here from Canada where Whitehall Row make the best traditionally lightweight, fast rowing boats - perfect for our sheltered summer coastal waters. We fiddle about in her 500m off shore. We catch everything we want and enjoy so much of what others miss by trying to get further away at breakneck speed and cost.

8. Sealegs

After years of watching women and children clutching dresses and shorts while fending off a thrashing boat (Dad parking the trailer), what a relief to see Sealegs (amphibious craft) deliver them in and out of the water safe and dry. If I had one of these, even I might not be able to resist charging for the horizon.

9. Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen

I have driven this car for 16 years (and in that time had many others come and go), because nothing else has such an exciting driving position. You sit high above everyone around you with panoramic windows and feel so safe and cosseted. A brand new right-hand-drive diesel has just been released and it's top of my wishlist.

10. Garden roses

Picked at this time of year, arranged overflowing with blooms of the softest colours and scents, and with petals falling on the floor. The pleasure is all the more for having picked them in the early morning chill and half light in a waking garden, having been pricked and scratched, and for watching their blowsiness develop through the day. How lucky we are when we can find beauty in simple everyday things.

- NZ Herald

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