Whangaparaoa Library by Ricky Lam

The Whagaparaoa Library, located north of Auckland on the beautiful Whangaparaoa peninsula, was originally designed by Warren and Mahoney and was completed in 2004 as part of the regeneration of the area.  12 years on while the facade is still in great condition (thanks to its simple modern aesthetic), the interior was due for an update.

Hampton Jones completed the refurbishment and renewal of the library in 2016. The objective of the interior upgrade, led by architectural designer Marsha Valenta, was 'to create a warm and inviting space, leading visitors into the heart of the library'.  The new inclusion of the hopscotch feature carpet, vibrant colour choices and beautifully backlit reception joinery are all great touches.  I arrived the morning of the photoshoot to find half a dozen of little humans and parents already waiting outside the library before the door even opened - an indication that good design brings families and the community together.

© 2017 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam

Wild Poppies by Ricky Lam

I've had the privilege of doing a shoot back in 2015 for Wild Poppies as part of their rebranding exercise.  Kerry and her fantastic team of florists are all talented, bubbly yet so very humble.

All the arrangements were done on the spot for the shoot.  The abundance of fragrance, colours and textures filled the senses and brought me joy.  I was impressed by the speed at which the girls were able to pull together these beautiful compositions, and then pirouette to front of the lens with such grace and fluidity.

'Girl with the auburn hair' became one of the most popular images on my social media feed.

© 2017 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam

House on First Ave by Ricky Lam

I did this photoshoot for a couple of good friends in winter 2016 when their kitchen renovation project was freshly completed. They had commissioned Cheshire Architects to undertake the project. Cheshire has long been known for their rich and refined aesthetics, and what they have done with the House on First Ave is no exception.  Pale timber is crafted with beautiful detailing, and contrasted with matt black bench top and fixtures.

This project is currently being entered into the Best Awards by the architect.

© 2017 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam

Auckland Art Gallery - A Journey Inward by Ricky Lam

In a nation obsessed with sports, beaches, the outdoors and cuisine such as New Zealand - art is often overlooked and underappreciated.  There seems to be a general perception that art is an indulgence afforded only by the rich and pretentious.  Everyone I speak to locally knows about Auckland Art Gallery, for instance, but surprisingly few have set foot in this establishment, let alone being aware of the exhibitions that are currently on display inside.  One can argue this also stems from inertia, ambivalence and grass-is-greener mentality - "I am too busy, so this is at the bottom of my list", "I am not even into art" or "This building is always going to be here, so I can always visit another time. I would rather travel overseas during my breaks."

I have a background in architecture and fine arts, so I am one of those who takes pleasure out of visiting galleries and museums.  I appreciate first and foremost how beautifully designed (by FJMT + Archimedia) this award-winning building is, inside and out.  I also applaud the curators who work tirelessly to bring us some of the most exciting shows, both locally and from abroad.

But more than anything for me, the Gallery provides a space to meditate and reflect.

When I am with a camera in hand, I am there purely for the architecture and creation of images; when I am with friends, I am there to discuss and appreciate the works on display. But when I am alone, it is when I enjoy this building the most.  It offers me not only acoustic silence, but visual harmony.  I can sit on one of the benches, stare at an artwork, or Albert Park outside, and lose myself in thoughts.  It is incredibly rewarding to take a moment away from a world that simply does not stop, and in fact seems to be accelerating with frightening velocity.

I hope this series of images clearly conveys my view, and would perhaps alter the preconceptions of some others, while entices those who did not know about this institution to pay a visit, or ten.

© 2016 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam

Halong Bay by Ricky Lam

Halong Bay is one of those places I had always longed to visit, having seen plenty of photos of this famous destination. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bay features thousands of limestone karst and isles in various shapes and sizes.

I finally had to chance to travel to this area earlier this year.  The two-day cruise we picked was somewhat tacky, as one would expect, but the staff was charming and attentive. Boarding the cruise was like being on a tourist conveyor belt. On board, our cabin's interior looked as if it was modelled on one of Liberace's dressing rooms in Las Vegas, which we had a good laugh about. One thing I noticed in particular, which is often not mentioned on travel blogs and articles, is the level of pollution at sea due to the area's over-dependence on tourism.

However, once we settled in and the cruise had sailed approximately 45 minutes from the harbour, I looked out the window and the view reassured me the reason I was there. I had heard that on a fine clear day it is stunningly picturesque. But during the trip it was foggy, just to my liking, and the vista was full of mystical beauty. The experience of being surrounded by mist and limestone formations blurs one's sense of space and time. It was truly enjoyable relaxing on our private deck with mojito in hand, taking the view in. The kayaking trip to the local fishing village and meeting the oyster farmers was also a highlight.

After the trip I couldn't help but have conflicting feelings.  I am grateful for the opportunity to travel there, but I know I had contributed to the issue of pollution in the area, and I wish the local government would do more to ensure this natural beauty is preserved.

© 2016 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam

Cold War by Ricky Lam

During my holiday in Vietnam, I had to chance to visit the Reunification Palace in Saigon. While the building itself is architectural and extravagant, with its sculptural concrete sunshade louvres, shiny floor tiles and oversized chandeliers (another post), I was most fascinated by its basement level, which contains a telecommunication centre, war room and warren of tunnels.  This inspired me to play with the 60/70's cold war espionage film aesthetics when editing these photos, channelling a bit of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

© 2016 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam

Fantastic Surprise by Ricky Lam

A photoshoot for creative agency Fantastic Surprise.  Fantastic space, fantastic work, fantastic people.

© 2016 Little Four Thirds  |  Ricky Lam