Resident: putting New Zealand design on the world stage

The Auckland-based company has launched new pieces with the founder's house in mind

July 2018
You may have heard of Resident if you've visited Milan design week or NYCXDesign – New York's month-long design event. Here, brands showcase new products post-Milan, as has been the case with Resident. But for this year's event, the Auckland-based brand wanted to go further, showcasing a full-scale installation upon which their new designs were presented.
'The installation is a very ambitious expansion for us,' said founder Simon James. 'We wanted to show visitors all of our work in context and we liked the idea of taking a large space that we could have more control over.'
James founded Resident alongside Scott Bridgens in 2011, having spent five years in London working for Tom Dixon and establishing the brand's business in both New York and Hong Kong. The two felt that enamoured by the idea of a New Zealand design company that exports to the world – given the combination of their experience in manufacturing, exportation, marketing and the actual practical elements of design.
Resident products are sold by thorough an international network of well endowed resellers the likes of Design Within Reach, Matter in New York, A+R Store in L.A. SCP, Twentytwentyone and Heals in London, and exclusively through district in Australia.
Among the brand's newest products is the Isabella chair, a plush, three-legged armchair complete with a stripped-back metal frame.
'We started with the idea of a pair of lounge chairs with a small footprint to be very space-friendly. Originally, the frame and legs were much thicker and more rectangular, but we pared it back as far as we could to give it a lighter look and feel, without compromising structural strength or comfort. The three-legged design came about during this process, and offers a nice cantilever on certain angles.'
A lower back was added, in order to provide support without intruding in the space or blocking any views.
The Isabella chair was launched alongside the Arcade modular sofa, which James said was originally conceived as a piece for his own home: 'I was trying to design a sofa for myself but like most designers, I’m my own harshest critic, and I spent a lot of time refining it. Essentially, I wanted something cosy and a little puffy, with a super soft back and seat cushion, but also something to provide a contrast with that — which is why I pared down the sofa arm and gave it a slightly unusual angle with that little lip to create a very minimal arm rest.'