My Auckland: Auckland CBD

Linda Tyler is the Director of the Gus Fisher Gallery, and she is a big fan of the CBD and the magnificent public art that fills it.

Gus Fisher Gallery director Linda Tyler with a Lyonel Grant sculpture. Photo / Richard Robinson
Gus Fisher Gallery director Linda Tyler with a Lyonel Grant sculpture. Photo / Richard Robinson

I live on Shortland St between the twin towers of Mammon, The Vero and The Lumley buildings, glittering glass skyscrapers. The companies responsible for those two buildings had to provide public amenities to make up for all the air space they were grabbing, which means there's now loads of marvellous art in the area, and gorgeous cafes too. The thing I love about living downtown is the incidental art. You can go through any of the foyers of the big corporations and they'll have paintings and sculptures on show. I use the Lumley as a cut-through down to Fort St and, on the way, I enjoy a close encounter with a Len Lye, and the biggest Stephen Bambury that's ever been made. There's a brilliant light work there too, a Jim Speers, it's an absolutely beautiful thing. All very glamorous and international and, having whisked past all that, I jump in the lift to be spat out on to Fort St. On Fort St you'll first see Ima, the lovely cafe that Gordon Ramsay was twittering on about when he was here recently - apparently the name means Mother in Hebrew. The woman who runs it is Israeli; they do lovely chicken soups and hearty luncheon fare.

In the Vero building, they have the big Pavilion Restaurant, and they also have a tiny cafe where, after about 3 or 4pm, they discount all the sandwiches and paninis. There is a big Andrew Drummond sculpture in the Vero, and a Liz Thomson pod that changes colour from pink to green over about 15 minutes. It's quite mesmerising to watch while you wait for your coffee.

Another cut-through I like is through the Walker Wayland building on 53 Fort St. You go down past the Atomic Cafe, on a little land bridge. They've glazed it all so nicely and you can see all the palms in the Kenneth Myers Centre, and a very nice back view of the old 1YA building: it's a great perspective on the area. Sholto Smith was the architect who did my building, and he also designed The Chancery so there's a feeling of a cohesive aesthetic. Maud Cahill moved Jason's Books in there from Lorne St, about 18 months ago now. It's always worth popping in to see what's there.

Another favourite haunt of mine is The Wine Loft on Shortland St, very sophisticated and child-free too. They have a gas fire, deep leather chairs and the very subdued lighting the mature woman prefers! Then there's the lovely Customs Coffee House in Queen's Arcade. There are any number of places to have coffee, but this is one of the few places that also specialises in tea. They do fresh sandwiches, real home baking: it's like it's from another time with its chandelier, gothic carvings and interesting music. I also like to pop into the Anna Miles Gallery on High St, she's in a funny little sliver of a building running from High St to Queen St.

When people come to stay I like to drag them round my circuit. Sometimes I go to the 24th floor of the Lumley building; they have a great art collection, McCahons and Hoteres, a most beautiful collection. Then down from there is Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, they have a wonderful changing cycle of exhibitions curated by the Stark White Gallery. I also like taking people to see the big wall in the Vero Gallery. I always like to go different ways to spy on the corporate foyers, and I've discovered by using my various cut-throughs you can find lots of little artworks that weren't there last week.

A lot of people aren't brave enough to go into a corporate foyer, yet the whole point of those tall buildings is that they provide public amenities, so don't be shy, be nosy.

Linda's picks

* The Wine Loft, 67 Shortland St, (09) 379 5070. An ideal spot for adults to relax and unwind.

* Ima Cuisine, 57 Fort St. (09) 379 5070. Simply put, delicious food made with love.

* Jason's Books, 16 O'Connell Street (09) 379 0266. Hours of pleasure for book lovers.

* Customs Coffee House, Tea & Coffee Specialists, Queens Arcade. (09) 303 3920. Like taking a trip back in time, their yoyos and melting moments are heavenly.

* The Anna Gallery, 4j, 47 High Street, (09) 377 4788. Well worth a look for gifts for others, or a treat for yourself.

- NZ Herald

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