Brenner Associates opened their doors in 1949 from a small office in Queen St. Little did they know that they would become New Zealand's first fully integrated design and architecture group.
Stephen Jelicich (also the founder of Jasmax), Milan Mrkusich and Des Mullen formed the starting lineup of architects and designers. They were joined in 1954 by Vlad Cacala, quickly becoming a supergroup of tasteful individuals with a bent on providing New Zealanders with access to avant garde design.
Brenner Associates began their careers by designing retail spaces, such as the Jon Jansen store in Auckland. However, they dreamed of larger projects. Their first house was an outspoken house in Temple Street, Meadowbank. It's sculptural details distinguished this house from other more 'local' designs around that time.
However, the crowning achievement of their architectural careers was the Mrkusich house in Arney Road, Remuera. This house not only displayed a starkly modernist exterior but was artfully fitted out with modernist furniture and objects. Many of these pieces had been designed by Des Mullen for Brenner Associates.
Des Mullen and Vladimir Cacala soon began designing furniture and objects which were on the cutting edge of modernism in New Zealand. Brenner Associates began opening retail stores in Auckland to stock and supply their pieces. They also imported furniture and objects from Scandinavia and Great Britain and stocked local cermic and textile design from the likes of Len Castle and May Smith.
Brenner Associates offered New Zealanders the entire design package. It was this tenacious attention to detail and holistic approach to taste, which has put them on the map as one of New Zealand's leading lights of mid century design.
References: 1. 40 Legends of New Zealand Design by Douglas Lloyd-Jenkins
Cudos to Lost Property for many of these archival images.