10 Favourite Things: On the table

The founders of Trestle Union tell us about their top things, from an old T-shirt to a radio constantly tuned into Kiwi FM

Mike Grobelny and Nikolai Sorensen with their favourite things. Photo / Babiche Martens

Simplicity is often best when it comes to interiors, with the humble trestle table a favourite of many who appreciate classic design.

Mike Grobelny and Nikolai Sorensen have combined their talents to launch Trestle Union, which they describe as affordable, no-frills products that don't compromise on style: maximum desk space that takes up minimal room.

A trip to Mexico saw the Auckland-based pair - both with backgrounds in design and their own solo design projects - inspired by the practicality of the trestle tables used by market merchants as stalls.

Their take on the design classic is contemporary and sturdy, with trestle tables and legs made from tough glass and marine plywood, and all with charmingly slim, clean lines. Grobelny and Sorensen tell us more about some of their favourite things.

• Find out more at trestleunion.co.nz


1. Travel T-shirt

Mike: As a design school grad, when I scraped together enough money to travel there wasn't a great surplus so this is by far my favourite object of that time. A threadbare travel companion, it reminds me of some pivotal pilgrimages and people I met in Spain when I finished design school.

2. Wetsuit

Mike: An underrated functional product design which allows me to stay in the water all year round, my constant source of inspiration.

3. Gig posters from Flatstock

Mike: The Flatstock poster show at SXSW has contributed to many bank accounts being drained by buying too many screen-printed gig posters. When I noticed one stand was wrapping their posters in paper bags used for test prints and offering them for $1 each, I bought a bunch and liked them even more than my other posters. Accidental design masterpieces.

4. Cardboard radio

Nikolai: The first thing in the workshop to go on and the last to go off. You won't hear Top 40 hits on this radio, the dial is firmly locked onto Kiwi FM. The radio itself is a classic example that you can achieve a high design aesthetic without expensive materials or fancy features, the mantra that Trestle Union was built around.

5. Collection of motorcycle manuals

Mike: I first bought one for my little Honda CB175 and can't stop buying them, I'm addicted; the graphic design, the scrawled notes, oily prints, the recorded history of home craftsman.

6. Printers tray

Nikolai: Originally used to store type for letterpress, it now hangs on my wall displaying knick-knacks that I've collected over time. .

7. Pohutukawa plaque

Mike: I'm privileged to work in the AUT Art and Design workshop, where we have access to some incredible technology. This wood carved with the word "pohutukawa" was a gift from Harold Barton, a colleague and craftsman. It sits on my desk at home and demonstrates a great understanding of the relationship between emerging technology and the craft process.

8. Cowhide

Nikolai: The hide came off the family farm. My wife thought we'd try tanning it ourselves, a classic example of the DIY Kiwi mentality - how hard could it be, right? We got halfway through the process when we realised it's pretty hard. We called in the professionals and it now sits proudly on the lounge floor.

9. Photo of my dad surfing

Nikolai: Probably my favourite thing. He passed away when I was pretty young; this is a reminder of how much of a dude he was. Both Mike and I share a passion for surfing, and we have been known to have the odd "board meeting" out at Piha or Muriwai.

10. Stovetop espresso machine

Nikolai: My own piece of iconic industrial design that gets used everyday. I picked this up in Venice back in 2006. Such a simple, clever piece of technology that makes a great coffee.

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