Friday, 5 December 2008

PUG, more interiors

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PUG, the little shop that barked

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Text: Sarah Bunny
Images: Robyne Voyce

PUG Design Store
228 Kilmore Street,
Open Wednesday – Friday 11.30am – 5pm, Saturday 11.30am – 4pm

This Is Me
Robyne Voyce talks about her latest project

“I never planned on opening a shop”, yet a chance encounter with a ‘For Lease’ sign in Robyne’s favourite area of town sparked an idea. Forty odd years of collecting one-of-a -kind objects, and a talent for creating jewellery, clothing and art provided some interesting stock, leaving the question of a name. “I wanted something short, quick and easy to grab hold of, and with a dog theme”.

Pug design store, near the intersection of Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets, is home to a fascinating mix of objet d’art. A row of miniature Fiat 500s park up beneath a 50s style dress and vintage vases in the front window, which requires regular cleaning due to chin and nose smudges from intrigued passersby, much to the owner’s amusement. “I’ll take that as a good sign”.

Inside, those who hunt for original and unique items will find a range of treasures, including knitted pigs, safety pin bracelets, perfume bottles, tea towels and cushions with Crown Lynn prints. There are 70s postcards, buttons and brooches, 1950s Japanese tea sets, and other remnants of a “Japanese phase”. There is no obvious theme to the range of bits and pieces at Pug, yet everything sits together harmoniously. There seem to be clusters of objects that share similarities, and this in a way maps out the evolution of her collection as it travels from phase to phase, rather than being a forced continuation of a particular idea or image. Robyne describes how she looks at each item for its own special aspects of interest and intrinsic value, rather than solely placing it as part of a whole.

Growing up with grandparents that never threw anything away, and inheriting a lot of their treasures, instilled in her a sense of respect for things that are ‘pre loved’. Robyne enjoys watching customers’ reactions to items they remember from childhood, and delights in the special memories that are often attached to things that are second hand. With a discerning eye, much of what is in the store has been picked out from antique collections, church fairs and craft stalls around the country. Other items are meticulously hand made by herself or local artists. Often one offs, these carefully crafted curiosities are waiting to be discovered by like-minded creative types in search of something distinctive and quirky. She has a strong dislike for all that is mass produced and believes people should seek out and surround themselves with objects that have meaning to them.

Robyne thinks that rediscovering pre-used items, and looking beyond the square of mass produced mediocrity, can definitely help bring out one’s creative side. Indeed, a sense of energised creativity is in abundance at Pug. Robyne gestures at the walls and shelves and sums up her sentiments perfectly. “This is me, it reminds me who I am and what I like. It inspires me”.

Robyne Voyce

64 3 3811255
021 1741760
P.O. Box 32092,
Linwood, Christchurch,
New Zealand