Knight Associates Ltd. 19 Yu Mei Newmarket

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Nathan Varga
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Jessie Wong, Rufus Knight
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Keegan Davis
  • Client
    Yu Mei

Located in the historic Lees Metalworks building on Kent Street, Yu Mei Newmarket further establishes the leather goods brand as a new retail destination in Auckland and flagship for the brand’s broadening bag and accessory collections and retail lounge concept.

Using simple, natural materials, and a neutral palette, the space is confident but subtle while contributing to a sense of tactile luxury speaking strongly to the Yu Mei customer.

The Newmarket flagship offers customers a sophisticated retail experience and further develops the lounge concept that has become central to Yu Mei's inclusive but high-end aesthetic. Incorporating a selection of contemporary artworks and temporary installations, from artists such as Yona Lee, Gretchen Albrecht, and Ashleigh Taupaki, the space acts both as retail touchpoint and gallery space, imbuing a strong sense of engagement with staff, customers, and Tāmaki Makaurau’s vibrant arts calendar.

The new retail space reconfigures the existing open-plan floor plan creating a large stone-topped point of sale and timber display shelves in the front half of the store. The interior palette is based around a combination of simple geometric forms punctuated by blocks of expressive materiality – polished concrete, stained Oak, Onyx marble, Ōamaru stone, and aged brass finishes combine to create an earthy but refined atmosphere. The rear of the store offers a counterpoint and different character, embracing existing heritage brick and exposed steel structure, to create a more intimate and loft-like experience that enables Yu Mei to host private shopping events, product launches, and hosted dinners for small groups.