We sat down with Cult Design founder, Richard Munao, to talk about the reopening of the brand’s iconic showroom in Parnell, and where to from here as Cult embarks on a new journey in New Zealand to foster local creative talent.

After a meticulous year-long renovation and restoration following flood damage, Cult’s Parnell showroom has opened its doors, presenting a fresh New Zealand design destination.

The building, originally serving as the ice storage for all of Auckland, holds a rich historical significance. “Its transformation into a contemporary space mirrors the evolution of both the city and our commitment to pushing the boundaries of design,” Richard tells us.

This year marks 27 years since Richard set out on a journey to offer exceptional furniture to the Australasian market. In New Zealand, Cult has held a central place in the local design sector since 2006, and, alongside the refreshed showroom, there are new plans afoot for this design powerhouse.

Richard is a storyteller at heart, and Cult is a symbiosis of narrative and creativity, supporting international partners, including Fritz Hansen, Louis Poulsen, Carl Hansen, HAY, and Gubi, while equally focusing on telling the stories of local talent.

Through its own design brand, nau, Cult works with leading Australian designers and manufacturers to support and advocate for Australian design across the globe — something Richard is looking forward to developing in New Zealand with a sharply focused local lens.

“With the new showroom open, we’re looking ahead and excited about collaborating with emerging New Zealand product designers as we curate our own New Zealand collection,” he tells us.

“We’re striving to find those who can do things others haven’t; those whom we can work with to design the next ‘classic’. It’s a tough brief, and we’re looking forward to pushing the boundaries.”

Also on the agenda this year is the New Zealand launch of Cultivated, an initiative that’s well under way across the Tasman — recently celebrating its 10-year anniversary — and one about which Richard is undeniably enthusiastic.

“We’re passionate about telling stories, and every piece at Cult has a story — there’s a curiosity there. Part of that design story is about origin and longevity.

“I always think about it in terms of buying a car. You wouldn’t buy a car that you couldn’t service locally, so why would you buy a piece of furniture you can’t repair?”

That notion is what underpins Cultivate, an in-house sustainability programme that provides buy-back, refurbishment, and recycling services for authentic designer furniture.

“In Australia, we’ve seen huge success with this programme. It’s unique to Cult. We believe that one of the best strategies for sustainable living is to make and buy things that last. We believe in creating a sustainable circular economy for authentic furniture and lighting.

“Our New Zealand launch of Cultivate will begin with Cult pieces only; in stages, that will develop into a wider offering for authentic designer pieces.”

The Cult showroom is located at 73 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland.

Latest video features

In the Coromandel, a home with a humble profile and a thoughtful design makes the most of a stunning location.

Built with awe-inspiring attention to detail, this Arrowtown home is a fresh interpretation of a familiar Otago rural vernacular.

This sculptural Northland bach is a perfect north arrow on a remote farm high above the sea.

With the sun on its bow and the community at its stern, this is a house in which the elements are always front of mind.

Trending articles

Design News

Impactful design

The 2024 Readers’ Choice Home of the Year, Sumner House by RTA Studio, is a place of striking proportions and captivating creativity: a powerful response


Open space

Perched atop an escarpment overlooking Whangārei’s town basin, this home is the embodiment of the owners’ vision, the architects’ knowledge, and the builder’s expertise.

Design News

Tangibility and presence

Nine years ago Scott Thorp moved to Christchurch to be closer to the mountains. It was here that he felt most connected to the land,