Keni-Duke is the founder and lead designer of Nelson-based architectural design practice Cube Architecture. He has been a professional member of ADNZ for 2 years.
Keni-Duke was born in a farmhouse at Te Kuiti full of books on art and literature and brought up within a family of artists, carvers and master weavers. His grandmother was Dame Rangimarie Hetet, founder of the Hetet School of Māori Arts at Lower Hutt. He draws his design inpriration from his heritage, the arts and nature.
"I'm not going to pretend I'm one of those designers that think about architecture day in, day out 24/7," says Keni-Duke.
"I think it's wise to be about all the arts as there is so much cross over between them, for example between martial arts, music and architecture - they all have a rhythm and a tempo and a flow and are based around spatial arrangements."
Keni-Duke is a black belt in karate and has been a surfer for 30 years. He describes himself as a 'good observer who notices things'.
"Understanding the client brief is a massive part of the design process - how you receive and respond to the information they give you and to their requests, so response is an important part of my ideology. And it's not just designing something that meets expectations - I think you should always try to exceed those expectations as well. Every now and then I have clients come back to me saying 'Whoa! I wasn't expecting tha!' But when you show them the process you followed, from your understanding of the brief and site and how you responded to those conditions, you can almost see the realisation and understanding dawning in their eyes. That's pretty cool."
Current projects at Cube Architecture include a major redesign of Te Āwhina Marae at Motueka, a two bedroom eco-bach at Mapua, a Samoan Fale at Victory Square and a Pocket Park/Laneway in Nelson's CBD.
Right now Keni-Duke's focus is on finishing up a lunch of fish and chips, before he gets back to work.
"We've got a huge variety of work on at the moment, it keeps it exciting. But the marae development, for me, that's 'the ultimate' to be working on. Because of my culture and heritage."
For more information on Keni-Duke visit: http://www.adnz.org.nz/profile/keni-dukehetet