Artist Jonas Raw Would Like You To Pause For A Moment

The artist is shining bright like a diamond with his new crystal-shaped sculpture that encourages reflection

Jonas Raw in his sculpture Reflect. Photo / Babiche Martens

Like sitting inside a crystal, is how artist Jonas Raw describes the interactive experience of his Sculpture on the Gulf work.

With its shiny stainless-steel shell and textured wooden interior, Reflect mirrors the environment and invites reflection inside, too.

Jonas designed the sculpture three years ago, originally intending for it to become a sauna or “health hub”.

It has since evolved to become a refuge: a coastal shelter, work space or small meeting place, a place to sit and meditate, its 2.8m x 2.7m x 2.3m dimensions allowing viewers to walk through or take cover from the elements.

He built the work in collaboration with his team from Space Creators, the building and design company and artists collective he founded three years ago.

“It was always meant to be a piece for reflection and stillness, for sitting in space, enjoying nature as part of nature, observing your surroundings and reflecting on past, present and future,” he says. “It’s a reminder that we come and go — we are only visitors to this land.”

The whole piece changes depending on where it’s placed. In the city, it transforms into a sleek urban form reflecting skyscrapers and man-made structures but tucked into the headland at Waiheke’s Matiatia it echoes the coastline and sun-kissed colours of nature.

Originally from Germany’s Stuttgart, the birth city of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, Jonas was named the best cabinetmaker of his state.

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Following his apprenticeship, he was granted a scholarship to train in Hawaii, where he lived for 18 months on the moonlike volcanic Big Island of Kona. It was here, working as the “right-hand man” to renowned furniture designer Tai Lake, that he says he fostered an appreciation for wellbeing and being in harmony with nature.

“I was living a good, healthy, balanced lifestyle between meditating, yoga and surfing every day, while working as Tai’s right-hand man in the art scene.”

During further studies in interior design and architecture back in Germany, Jonas started his own company designing and building interiors for restaurants, along with artistic furniture and sculptures.

Since moving to New Zealand nine years ago, and Waiheke two years later, he has worked in various parts of the building industry but he says it had always been his dream to enter Sculpture on the Gulf.

“Working as an artist and with my hands, creatively, gives me the most energy,” he says. “I wake up in the morning and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Given his appreciation for natural beauty, it’s no surprise to learn that Reflect’s otherworldly form was inspired by a diamond, the gem’s formation process one that Jonas likens to the challenge of sitting in a hot sauna.

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“You push yourself through that experience to enjoy something purifying and good for your body. A diamond is created similarly: under pressure and heat.”

That it’s a place for inner reflection is particularly apt given Jonas and his Space Creators colleagues often meditate together in the mornings.

“It’s important to me, especially in the building industry, because I know how harsh the building environment can be.”

Sculpture on the Gulf opens this Friday and runs until March 27, Matiatia Coastal Walkway, Waiheke Island. Entry $15pp. For details, go to

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New Zealand Herald

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