cashmere travel wrap

In Conversation with Lyzadie Renault



Cashmere Travel Wrap

Lyzadie wears a Cashmere Travel Wrap in sky blue.

A glimpse into Architect and Designer, Lyzadie Renault’s world reveals that her strong connection to nature from a young age, her adventurous spirit and ancestry of builders, engineers and furniture makers has influenced her chosen career in architecture and furniture design.

Establishing Lyzadie Design Studio in New Zealand in 2018, Lyzadie designs and honors handmade furniture and objects to love and enjoy forever, harnessing the talents of local makers and using locally sourced and sustainable resources to create exquisite pieces such as a coffee table made from rescued rimu with a brass motif like the running rivers of the South Island. Her love for New Zealand’s abundant natural environment is her constant source of inspiration and encapsulated in her award winning collections.

At KASMIRI, we celebrate and are committed to artisanal handmade practices and so I caught up with Lyzadie to learn more about what influences her designs.   

Tell us about your upbringing

I was born into two very different cultures, race, religion and ideologies. My father is a very proud French man from Normandy and my mother is Melanesian from New Caledonia from a village called Petit-Couli. My father is the coloniser and my mother the colonised. New Caledonia was colonised by France in 1841. Having these two  perspectives has positively shaped my views on life and political issues. I spent my childhood between France and New Caledonia until I immigrated to New Zealand when I was fourteen years old with my family.

I have three cultures that have shaped who I am and my view of the world is quite rich as a result. My parents were adventurers and moved a lot and so my love of travel and exploring new cultures was instilled in me at an early age. I have travelled extensively around the world from Africa to Mongolia, Europe to the Middle East, America and the Pacific Islands. I love travelling around New Zealand. Exploring new and old places is a great love of mine and it’s where I get much of my inspiration. On a day to day basis, I find myself seeing things in a new way. It’s something I nurture as it allows me to stay in a rich state of creativity.

How did you come to be in New Zealand?   

My parents travelled to New Zealand on a romantic holiday and fell in love with this country and two years later, we ended up here to start a new life. It was a challenging time as we didn’t speak English, the culture was so different and we arrived after the stock market crash. Financially, it was a challenging time. I had to step up and be a translator to help my parents navigate life in New Zealand and I worked after school to help my family.

You are an Architect and a Designer of furniture and objects. How did you transition to also be a furniture designer? 

My first passion is architecture which I continue to practice. I have however spent most of my time over the last five years establishing Lyzadie Design Studios because it needs the initial energy and nurture. I have four children which limits my ability to take on large architectural projects at this moment in time. I know my limits and as I’ve been burnt out in the past, I am careful to stay mentally and physically healthy so that I may be a good mother to my children and do what I love well.

I started Lyzadie Design Studio in 2018 because there was no New Zealand made and beautifully designed positive luxury furniture and home-ware. I felt that objects we introduced into our homes had no soul, no story and the brands we bought from were only interested in profit and not necessarily in changing the industry for a better planet. I also felt that the makers were invisible so we never knew who made the furniture or objects we brought into our homes.

I am passionate about the story of every piece we design and make. Each table has a location marker underneath which identifies the location of the wood used to make the table. Sharing stories, nurturing and supporting craftsmanship, traceability and transparency with our makers and giving back to the community is all part of what makes the Lyzadie Design Studio brand. There is so much left to do.

What has been your greatest adventure?

The most life changing and challenging adventure has been having my children. The idea of having children didn’t come from me so it took a long time for me to have our first one. My husband wanted children. I loved my freedom too much so I was quite happy as we were. My children are my greatest love, my greatest creation, my greatest challenge and my greatest teachers.

I have two boys and two girls so I am bathed on a daily basis with both masculine and feminine energy which I consider a gift. As  a creative person, making a human with my own body and learning to feed with my own body highlights the miracle of life. Our bodies are truly amazing, beautifully designed and intelligent vessels.

You often wear Kasmiri because….

I love the feel of it. It’s so soft. I love the warmth and the way it automatically makes me feel beautiful, elegant and loved. It’s light so it doesn’t take up too much room in my handbag which is a must for a person like me who is constantly on the go. The cashmere travel wrap is the perfect accessory for our changeable weather in New Zealand but equally fabulously versatile for travelling overseas, especially on those cold planes.

I love the Kasmiri story and how it’s helping local communities in Nepal. That’s very special and adds more meaning to that piece of clothing.

If you could imagine an ideal world, what would it look like?

There would be peace and love in that world. Peace and love would be the driving force for all the decisions made by businesses, corporations, governments, leaders in health, technology, education, architecture, to help future proof the environment and live in harmony with all. We need inspiring and visionary leaders who have the highest integrity to stand for positive change.