Inside story: Prak Sritharan

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Prak Sritharan at home.

Prak Sritharan at home. Image: Russell Kleyn

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The German short-haired pointer, Barkely.

The German short-haired pointer, Barkely. Image: Russell Kleyn

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One of a few Anglepoise lamps that Prak picked up at a second-hand shop to restore.

One of a few Anglepoise lamps that Prak picked up at a second-hand shop to restore. Image: Russell Kleyn

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Technics record player: "Paired with my father’s old amplifier and vintage Japanese Technics speakers, they sound fantastic and are practically indestructible."

Technics record player: “Paired with my father’s old amplifier and vintage Japanese Technics speakers, they sound fantastic and are practically indestructible.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Paul Melser plate set: "I picked this up on one of my many trips to Paul’s studio in Masterton. It was only due to his commercial commitments that we weren’t able to stock him at the store."

Paul Melser plate set: “I picked this up on one of my many trips to Paul’s studio in Masterton. It was only due to his commercial commitments that we weren’t able to stock him at the store.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Welfe signet ring: "This sterling-silver ring with an eroded finish was gifted to me by Welfe the last time I was in Melbourne. I met Welfe last year and decided to stock his whole range."

Welfe signet ring: “This sterling-silver ring with an eroded finish was gifted to me by Welfe the last time I was in Melbourne. I met Welfe last year and decided to stock his whole range.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Baboon Portrait by Francis Upritchard: "I loved Francis’ Jealous Saboteurs show at Wellington’s City Gallery, so I was quick to nab this through Hamish McKay Gallery."

Baboon Portrait by Francis Upritchard: “I loved Francis’ Jealous Saboteurs show at Wellington’s City Gallery, so I was quick to nab this through Hamish McKay Gallery.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Hasami mug: "I love the form of their modular dinnerware and mug sets."

Hasami mug: “I love the form of their modular dinnerware and mug sets.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Moleskine notebook: "Clear or lined, these are my staple until they come to a battered end. They’re great for meetings, general doodling and the endless to-do lists I make."

Moleskine notebook: “Clear or lined, these are my staple until they come to a battered end. They’re great for meetings, general doodling and the endless to-do lists I make.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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<em>All My Friends Are Overseas #3</em> by Lauren Collinson: "This work was bought from one of the Massey University Fine Arts School’s end of year exhibitions. I was instantly drawn to this painting."

All My Friends Are Overseas #3 by Lauren Collinson: “This work was bought from one of the Massey University Fine Arts School’s end of year exhibitions. I was instantly drawn to this painting.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Anglepoise lamps: "I have loads of these dotted around the house, picked up from second-hand stores around Wellington. I enjoy patching them up and giving them a bit of a clean."

Anglepoise lamps: “I have loads of these dotted around the house, picked up from second-hand stores around Wellington. I enjoy patching them up and giving them a bit of a clean.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Nodi braided jute rug: "This is a favourite from Nodi’s latest collection because it’s textured and understated in a beautiful golden weave. We’ve stocked Nodi rugs since opening." 

Nodi braided jute rug: “This is a favourite from Nodi’s latest collection because it’s textured and understated in a beautiful golden weave. We’ve stocked Nodi rugs since opening.”  Image: Russell Kleyn

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Blue window photograph: "This was a photo I took in Sri Lanka on a trip with my grandparents in 2012. My grandfather recently passed away, so this photo has special significance."

Blue window photograph: “This was a photo I took in Sri Lanka on a trip with my grandparents in 2012. My grandfather recently passed away, so this photo has special significance.” Image: Russell Kleyn

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Few things please Prak Sritharan more than a beautifully constructed object. If it’s also functional and sustainably made, then that is a design trifecta as far as the Wellingtonian is concerned.

One of a few Anglepoise lamps that Prak picked up at a second-hand shop to restore. Image:  Russell Kleyn

Eighteen months ago, Prak indulged his love of all things bright and beautiful when he opened Precinct 35, a homewares store for lifestyle items that never go out of fashion.

“It’s about building a connection with customers and suppliers and creating a tangible impact on the community I’m living and working in,” says the 27-year-old of his business, which shares the same real estate as popular Ghuznee Street café Milk Crate.

“Customers can have a coffee and wander around Precinct 35. It’s a unique shopping experience.” 

It wasn’t supposed to be like this: born in Hamilton to Sri Lankan parents, Prak moved to Wellington to complete a commerce degree and was on the fast track to financial trading success at an energy company when he felt the tug of design.

“I’ve always been passionate about items that focus on quality, not quantity, so when the opportunity arose to take over the space, it was too good to ignore.”

Home is a cottage high in the Brooklyn hills. Prak and his partner, Kerry, a public servant, have shared the 1950s house with the owner Ben, their long-time friend, and his German short-haired pointer, Barkely, since 2014.

Blue window photograph: “This was a photo I took in Sri Lanka on a trip with my grandparents in 2012. My grandfather recently passed away, so this photo has special significance.” Image:  Russell Kleyn

Given Prak’s obsession with the intersection of the functional and beautiful, it’s no surprise he is focused on ensuring his home is more than just a place to eat and sleep. 

“The key is to discover what home means to you and invest in rituals and items that embody that meaning. It’s partly why I started my store because I’m at an age where I wanted to create a beautiful environment that allows me to emphasise daily rituals such as drinking coffee, cooking a meal, listening to music or playing backgammon.”

Another obsession is art, and Prak admits that obsession has gone into overdrive since Precinct 35 opened a dedicated art gallery at the rear of the store. “Being exposed to the younger, emerging artists whose work I exhibit at Precinct 35 has encouraged me to seek out pieces that challenge and really engage me.”

“I’m hoping my personal art collection will evolve as I work with more and more artists. It’s really exciting to collaborate with an artist to create a show that generates an emotional connection between the artist and the public.”   


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