Can we? — quickly now! — Can we just keep pretending that nothing happened?
(07 May 2016)
The text here is something plucked indiscriminately, unresisted, out of my subconscious. “Reality is … a sum of all texts in various media, including action and thought” (Annette Lavers. 1982. Roland Barthes : Structuralism and After. London: Methuen & Co. [p171].
The atmosphere in Grey Street, off Lambton Quay in downtown Wellington, is often thick with cigarette smoke – especially at lunch-time on weekdays. It’s a pedestrian precinct, with a water feature and abundant seating. It also offers access to my bank, among other things. And it has gingko trees.
As is all too often the case these days, the century-old building pictured here is little more than the hull of its former self. According to the architects in charge of the refurbishment of the building, “Although most of the interior’s historic features were lost due to the extensive structural work required, we tried to retain a semblance of the original hundred year-old building within the new fit-out. We added brick, pressed metal ceilings and old wood to make the space look like it had simply [been] stripped back to its original bones …” (see Studio Gascoigne’s write-up of the project)
For years an iconic Lambton Quay bookshop (the Wellington branch of Whitcombe & Tombs), the refurbished structure opened as the flagship store for Hallensteins & Glassons on 10 October 2013.
Whitcombe & Tombs began in Christchurch in 1882 – “a partnership between … bookseller, George Hawkes Whitcombe, and printer George Tombs. … In 1971, Whitcombe & Tombs merged with Coulls Somerville Wilkie to become Whitcoulls, and has since been sold several times.” (Read more in Wikipedia, and in Book Barons on the Lost Christchurch web-site.)