Beautiful inside and out

INVITING: A spiral retaining wall made from elm trees from the Waimata Valley works with the wheelchair ramp to create a harmony between sparse desert plantings and lush natives in spirals inspired by the phi curve of Skin Deep’s nautilus logo. Pictures by Rebecca Grunwell
Before: Gardens planted in the early 1980s had become overgrown and made the building appear dark, dated and unloved.
Team effort: A Saturday working bee where Skin Deep staff, friends and family shovelled 14 cubic metres of compost and planted most of the 500 plants used in creating the new gardens.

When your business focuses on helping people look and feel great, you can’t have a scruffy garden around it.

If you went down Cobden Street near Chelsea Hospital over the past month you would have noticed frantic activity as Skin Deep Clinic’s grounds were transformed.

It has been a year since Skin Deep moved from Stout Street into the former surgeons’ consulting rooms opposite the Kahutia Bowling Club. The rooms, built in the early 1980s, have been completely gutted and modernised.

Since then, Skin Deep’s founder and medical director (and my wife) Dr Anuya Deshpande also gave birth to our third child, Ariana, welcomed three new staff into the business, and completed qualifications in phlebology (varicose vein treatment) and skin cancer medicine.

With summer 2016 approaching — fast, hot and dry — we ran out of time and money to do the gardens, opting instead to clear the overgrown 250-square metre section, except for a large titoki tree and two kowhai. We planted a pollinator mix to see the garden through the summer and give us time to think. This colourful mix of flower species looked great and attracted bees and butterflies, but as summer wore on with a hose ban in place, some patients began to scold us that it looked scruffy. It’s good for businesses to look smart, but when your business helps people to look their best, it’s vital.

We engaged Oliver + Wolfe Landscape Architects to prepare a concept using local plants, materials and services wherever possible to convey some key aspects of the business — beauty, balance, vitality, as well as the Phi ratio reflected in the spiral of Skin Deep Clinic’s nautilus shell logo.

This ratio of 1:1.618 is found throughout nature, including the human body. It is the ratio of your finger bones to each other, the ratio of Kate Moss’ top lip to her bottom lip. In cosmetic medicine, dermal fillers can be used to restore the balance of the face to Phi so people look like themselves, only hotter.

I had helped one of my friends mill some elm trees in Waimata Valley, and used some 6”x2” boards to make a spiral retaining wall out the front. With the help of our staff, friends and family we shovelled 14m3 of topsoil and 5m3 of shell into place to realise landscape architect Sarah Wolfe’s interpretation of our wish list:

“Hedging was used to soften the edge of the building and screen boundaries. The landscape was divided into sparse desert and dense lush plantings with the installation of imported shell to provide colour and surface contrast for the desert planting, a juxtaposition to the lush plantings installed in mulch. Three nikau palms and six wheki (tree ferns) were planted to provide additional vertical height in the landscape and screen views in and out of the site. Large concrete aprons were concealed with soil, planting and the timber spiral, blurring boundaries between architecture and landscape to create a more inviting front entrance.”

Further additions are on the wish list — fruit trees out the back, whakairo, water features, perhaps a tree house in the titoki — but for now it is great to have the gardens around Skin Deep Clinic looking as happy, healthy and harmonious as the people walking out of it.

When your business focuses on helping people look and feel great, you can’t have a scruffy garden around it.

If you went down Cobden Street near Chelsea Hospital over the past month you would have noticed frantic activity as Skin Deep Clinic’s grounds were transformed.

It has been a year since Skin Deep moved from Stout Street into the former surgeons’ consulting rooms opposite the Kahutia Bowling Club. The rooms, built in the early 1980s, have been completely gutted and modernised.

Since then, Skin Deep’s founder and medical director (and my wife) Dr Anuya Deshpande also gave birth to our third child, Ariana, welcomed three new staff into the business, and completed qualifications in phlebology (varicose vein treatment) and skin cancer medicine.

With summer 2016 approaching — fast, hot and dry — we ran out of time and money to do the gardens, opting instead to clear the overgrown 250-square metre section, except for a large titoki tree and two kowhai. We planted a pollinator mix to see the garden through the summer and give us time to think. This colourful mix of flower species looked great and attracted bees and butterflies, but as summer wore on with a hose ban in place, some patients began to scold us that it looked scruffy. It’s good for businesses to look smart, but when your business helps people to look their best, it’s vital.

We engaged Oliver + Wolfe Landscape Architects to prepare a concept using local plants, materials and services wherever possible to convey some key aspects of the business — beauty, balance, vitality, as well as the Phi ratio reflected in the spiral of Skin Deep Clinic’s nautilus shell logo.

This ratio of 1:1.618 is found throughout nature, including the human body. It is the ratio of your finger bones to each other, the ratio of Kate Moss’ top lip to her bottom lip. In cosmetic medicine, dermal fillers can be used to restore the balance of the face to Phi so people look like themselves, only hotter.

I had helped one of my friends mill some elm trees in Waimata Valley, and used some 6”x2” boards to make a spiral retaining wall out the front. With the help of our staff, friends and family we shovelled 14m3 of topsoil and 5m3 of shell into place to realise landscape architect Sarah Wolfe’s interpretation of our wish list:

“Hedging was used to soften the edge of the building and screen boundaries. The landscape was divided into sparse desert and dense lush plantings with the installation of imported shell to provide colour and surface contrast for the desert planting, a juxtaposition to the lush plantings installed in mulch. Three nikau palms and six wheki (tree ferns) were planted to provide additional vertical height in the landscape and screen views in and out of the site. Large concrete aprons were concealed with soil, planting and the timber spiral, blurring boundaries between architecture and landscape to create a more inviting front entrance.”

Further additions are on the wish list — fruit trees out the back, whakairo, water features, perhaps a tree house in the titoki — but for now it is great to have the gardens around Skin Deep Clinic looking as happy, healthy and harmonious as the people walking out of it.

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