At Work with Keshaw McArthur

Featured Creative

Photographer Apela Bell
At Work with Keshaw McArthur

Katrina Keshaw and Xuan McArthur Nguyen founded their architectural practice in 2014. Working from a studio close to home in Titirangi, they are inspired by architecture in both New Zealand and Japan. Recent projects include the Simon James Mt Eden Showroom, which won the Auckland Architecture Commercial award. 

When do you both feel most creative?

We definitely feel most creative following a visit to a new project site - landscape and context significantly contribute to the language of our work and our theories on living.

Tell us about the inspiration and ideas around your work space?

Our office is located in Titirangi, a short distance from where we live. Most days we have a footprint of a few kilometers and we like that.  We enjoy the distance we have from the central city, allowing us to work at our own pace, while also maintaining mystery and excitement about all the great things happening in and around Auckland.

How does this space function?

Our design approach is tactile in nature so having an office space which supports this provides opportunity to really delve into the process of design for us. We are fortunate to have an office that is generous spatially - places we can leave books out, papers lying around, drawings pinned up. Our office is generic and intentionally simple, leaving space for individual and collective development of ideas. 

Featuring the Fragment Dining Table and Fragment Bench by Simon James

Who inspires you and your work?

For us personally - reading, contemporary art, philosophy, travel, anything that challenges us or makes us feel like we want to know more. Finding a synergy between these things and our work is a constant inspiration for us. 

Who are your favourite designers and artists right now?

There are so many incredibly talented designers and artists. Some of our favourites are Kazuyo Sejima, Rem Koolhaas, Alison and Peter Smithson and younger designers/artists like Francesca Torzo, Anoushka Akel and Patrick Lundberg.

Tell us why you chose the Fragment Dining Table for your space?

The table has a structural simplicity, timelessness and rigour that we admire - similar to ideas that we enjoy exploring in our work.

What other pieces from Simon James do you personally resonate with?

Our friend Keiji Ashizawa has some beautiful pieces for Ariake that we are very fond of.

Featured above Katrina with the Paperwood Side Table by Ariake and Tawa Barstool by Ariake

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?  

We are enjoying the diversification of our business which has been extending into different typologies of architecture over recent years. Some fun projects we are currently working on include a residential new build project in the clifftop area of the Eastern Bays overlooking the Waitemata - a proposal which is being brought back to life with new landowners after a few years of lying dormant - as well as a new showroom for New Zealand hardware company, Halliday Baillie, and an experimental home in the foothills of the Crown Range mountains in Queenstown.

Featuring the Arca Portable Lamp by Matter Made, Piatina Plate by When Objects Work and Oil Burner by Studio Henry Wilson