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Owen Dippie takes his paintbrush to Auckland’s CBD with Custom Lane

Auckland CBD’s urban rejuvenation continues to flourish with the launch of Custom Lane, a revamped laneway beneath the Grand Mercure Auckland. Renowned street artist Owen Dippie has lent a hand to the Lane with a spin on his tiki designs.

The laneway has been modelled off international examples in thriving cities like Melbourne and San Francisco. It combines Dippie’s street art with a place to either grab a donut during the day or a cocktail at night, just below the Grand Mercure hotel, which recently underwent a multi-million-dollar revamp.

Dippie’s piece was done using acrylic paint and a paintbrush, and encompasses the entire 25-metre wall. He’s no stranger to large-scale works, as another one of his works is a three-storey high portrait of Tania Cotter above Auckland’s southern motorway.

The design is meant to represent New Zealand’s culture and is based off his previous tiki designs.

“Over the years this tiki has taken many shapes and forms and has in-turn become something unmistakably Aotearoa,” Dippie said. “After being approached by the Grand Mercure, hearing their thoughts and seeing the space I knew this would be the perfect fit.”

Surrounding the artwork is a changing social dining area that houses Doornut doughnuts and coffee during the day, and cocktails and nibbles during the evening.

Grand Mercure Auckland’s general manager Zac Lumsden says Auckland’s local have evolved alongside the city to become savvier, and now don’t just want great places to eat and drink, but an exciting experience alongside that too.

“People don’t just want to walk into the same bar every day, order the same drink and sit at the same table,” he says.

“Custom Lane’s alfresco nature reflects people’s changing needs throughout the day. What you need in the morning to get you started for the day is totally different from what you crave in the evening when you’ve just knocked off work. That is the lens through which we looked when developing Custom Lane.”