Sculptural outcrop

If there was ever a doubt that, in architecture, context can be an incredibly rich source of inspiration and of symbolically grounding a structure, JCA Studio’s Memory Rock house on Great Barrier Island can put that argument to rest.

This home is inspired by the topography of the nearby Medlands Beach, so much so that its two-storeyed form was thought of as a subtle echo of Memory Rock, an almost sculptural outcrop at the centre of the beach.

To further cement this connection to place, the impeccable furniture selection from Simon James — its materiality, colours, and forms — became crucial to maintaining that metaphor and stitching its narrative to the surroundings.

Take, for instance, the colour palette used on these pieces: Colourwash fog, fossil, oak, charcoal, black ash, tundra grey, buff — the names alone, much like their textures and hues, evoke locality and coastal wonderland. They bring out images of flotsam and jetsam, of small bits of wood or stones rounded and softened by tides and sand, of a cohesive coastal scene.

The Offset Stool from Simon James works here as a sculptural side table.

The home’s designer, Jeremy Chapman, agrees: “We worked through a million different colour and material selections during the project, and, if there was any confusion, we’d go back to the [beach] metaphor, and that helped to inform every material we chose.”

There was also the need to bring the coastal vibe into a home of significant comfort and style, and the owner and designer opted for subtle elegance — beachy and quintessentially New Zealand, yet suffused with a laid-back sophistication.


The Fragment dining table, designed by Simon James, has strong lines that are offset by the warmth of solid oak, with a top that appears to cantilever from certain angles.

The Cameron Foggo–designed Journal coffee table, with its slender proportions, fits perfectly here, while the Nonn sofas exude a serene elegance with a touch of mid-century nostalgia. Within these pieces, Simon James’ Fragment collection — which is deeply inspired by modernist architecture’s cantilevers and linear geometries — reflects JCA Studio’s home beautifully. The rectangular solidity of the Fragment seems almost like a bespoke choice for a house that boasts a strong, almost pavilion-like form on the ground floor.

The Offset Stool, designed by Philippe Malouin for Resident and available from Simon James, is a playful and irregular screw together furniture piece which displays the beauty of solid oak in generous proportions.

From the wide architectural gestures to the immaculate furniture choices, this Home of the Year 2022 finalist ticks many boxes. 

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