Nat Cheshire’s rallying cry for this year’s Semi-Permanent is simply that “New Zealand is the place to be!”
Along with father Pip, Nat heads up Auckland’s Cheshire Architects – a key player in the transformation of the city, inwards and outwards from Britomart.
Indeed any doubters that Auckland is a much different city now than when Semi-Permanent made its debut a decade ago will be aggressively rebuffed when native son Nat takes to the stage on 2 May.
In those 10 years since Semi-Permanent arrived on the scene, Nat has gone through an ongoing delineation between what it is that formally defines the invasiveness of his chosen field vis-à-vis the unlimited climate of creative change that the “extraordinarily able people” he works alongside can bring to bear.
From brief-lived painterly ambitions in fine arts to his role in the fine architecture practised by the Cheshire studio, it’s no surprise that the line Nat prefers to tread is as much generalist as specialist, as much about the granular details of design as the grand designs of architecture and recently, as much about writing as drawing.
Nat’s thoughts on taking the stage at Semi-Permanent – his own debut there – are that it is a “great opportunity to step outside the jetstream (of Cheshire Architects) and speak about the future of this city”.
Reflecting in a looking-glass manner on where Auckland is now and projecting into the future, Nat sees no reason not to expect a positive continuation of the current way that “cultural, commercial and civic” means and ends are being aligned.
For his part, Nat (33) is especially proud to be aligned to a generation who have seen the city mature and have been part of affecting that maturation by way of “committing to a life of cultural agitation”.
“Staying here has been a determined decision,” says Nat. “It’s the right place to be and I don’t ever want to dilute that.”