WORDS Joshua Brosnahan PHOTO Supplied

Steve Rosling is the man behind Element 17 – a company bringing character and style back to our city centre.

Steve trained at the Wellington School of Design in the 90s, before embarking on the quintessential ‘Kiwi OE’. This is where he picked up a raft of experience in Japan, Ireland and all over Europe, working on large-scale interior projects.


On his return to Christchurch, Element 17 came into being. With a focus on commercial projects, the team has proudly completed the outfitting of the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, Plato Creative, and Quest Manchester to name a few.

Steve mentions how excited he is to see our city ‘awaken from the nightmare’ of the events in recent years.

“Christchurch is starting to become the city that you want to be in again. There’s still a need to keep evolving – with the forever changing retail environment, working habits in the office environment and our expectations of a good night out or service in a weekend café. We can now each discover an environment in the city that suits our feeling or desire at any given time. It is nice to have Discovery Lanes, a mix of modern architecture and heritage buildings. This evolution is definitely taking shape rapidly.”

Ōtautahi mixes the sun and nature with man-made textures and structure. It’s a place you can grab a good coffee, sit close by, and watch the city’s ebbs and flows right in front of you. A public place also is attractive where there is discovery, thought and experience-driven triggers.”

Steve and the team at Element 17 recently completed work on the fit-out of the new Winnie Bagoes on Welles Street. Here, he was fortunate to chat with a local neighbour to discuss the ease of life in the city. It’s a short walk to many great entertainment offerings – cafés and eateries, with supermarkets a stone’s throw away, and more.

“It is so rewarding for me to know we are creating great locations for the city dweller to play or work in. Listening to this ‘new breed’ in the city, you learn pretty quick that one of the key reasons they are in the city is for diversity. Diversity in food, entertainment, working style, and activities. I’ve enjoyed the urban community, which I have always felt I am a part of. We root for each other.”

When prompted to comment on the imposed height restrictions on new builds in the city, Steve had mixed thoughts.

“You go to any other city around the world, and the growth is towards the sky.

“I do like the idea that the height restriction allows sunlight in. As humans, we are instinctually comfortable with the height of trees, so fundamentally it feels good to walk around a city with that height relatively. You can see the sky, feel the sun and taste the wind. We need to constantly evolve, and over time I think we will revert to building upwards to protect our landscape, but for now, this suits.

“We are lucky in some ways; being forced to go through a process of rebirth, growth, and discovery. By going out and enjoying a meal, visiting a store, or enjoying a coffee – each of us have an opportunity to be part of this evolution and support the growth of our urban community.”  

FeaturesLiam Stretch