Take 10 with… Sam Southwell

1 year ago by

The DA team wants to support our community through these unprecedented times – something we kept coming back to is a focus on connection and community. So we want to do what we think DA does best, sharing ideas, inspiration and information and profiling our community.

With that in mind, we launched a new series Take 10 with… to do a pulse check on how you’re feeling, how you’re working, what you are missing, and what your hopes are for the future. We invited some of our friends, peers and the DA team to participate and we hope you enjoy these honest and candid profiles of Aotearoa designers today.



Introduce yourself: I’m Sam Southwell, founder and creative director of Studio South

How did you get into design? My uncle Mark Robertson employed me as a junior graphic designer straight out of high school at Amcor Kiwi Packaging, when RTD’s were all the rage, man we made so many silly crazy labels!

What do you love about design? Firstly, the culture of design is just incredible, designers are such fascinating creature, also that it encourages human conversations to problem solve , and helps businesses succeed!

What or who inspires you? I find all sorts of ways to get inspired, my team inspires me, they egg me on, good art, architecture, music, god I love music, but cooking is something that inspires me daily as it’s a channel where I can release, meditate a little. With cooking, you can be creative for a short term result. The work we do at South and the way we practice is to create design that endures, work that lasts. With cooking, you can come up with a great idea, perform some good timing, and bring it together with great presentation and feel completely satisfied with just devouring it. Not having to rationalise how it needs to last. haha

I’m very much into Larry Bell the incredible American artists work at the moment! (Photo Above.)

How are you feeling right now? It’s bloody buzzy that we’re in this official lockdown, as weird and crazy as it is, and the uncertainty for the future is real for many business owners. I’m loving being at home with my family at this time, thats one blessing, and in my opinion, it’s actually quite fascinating to articulate and observe such an interesting time for our generation, and hopefully, we will be able to weather this period and use good strategy, insights and powerful design communication to help people pivot, and prepare for the uprise and resurgence.

Are you working right now, if so what does your work from home day look like? yes, South is trying to help our clients through this difficult time with updates and pivots to their messaging and position We’re very active, all designers, project managers, and teams are working from home, we’re mastering the art of video calls and meetings, online virtual presentations, and even sharing drinks and after-work drinks from home video calls. WTF!?

What I am working on right now? These tacos! I’m calling them the ‘red veggie tacos’ and I invented them tonight for the first time. (Recipe below).

What’s your one tip right now? Be patient, we’re in a downturn, use this time to work on your business, harness your plan to enter the market again with a fresh point of view when the up rise kicks in.

Tell us about your current workspace. Lol, I’m working from the dining table in my Westmere transformational villa.

Which local business are you going to miss most during our isolation period? 

I spend all my money at Farro Grey Lynn on food, thank god they’re one of the essential businesses, I’ll miss my fav local neighbourhood restaurant Lilian, and my good friends bar Annabel’s Wine Bar – love supporting my mates who are doing dope shit and this is where you cultivate looser conversations and humour.

What do you hope for the Aotearoa design community going forward? A more levelled society, less pollution, and new energy with new narratives and opportunities to visually enhance and protect the world. For my sons generations future to flourish. How’s zat?






Breezy’s Red 032c Taco’s – Breezy is my cooking alter ego


Cauliflower half a bulb

Half a red chilli diced

White flour

Sunflower Oil

Can of white Cannelloni beans

2 ripe Tomatoes

2 firm Radishes

2 Limes

1 Can of La Morena chipotle sauce (from Farro)

Habanero Sauce


Sour Cream

Tasty Cheese

Corn or Flour soft tacos

Coriander (try dusting this in smoked paprika and a little water to try make it go reddish)



Step 1.

Crumble the cauli into little chunks and put in a bowl, pour half the can of chipotle sauce,  the diced chilli, salt, pepper and stir. Then dust with the flour, add a light jigger of the sunflower oil (this gets hotter than olive oil and makes the cauli crisp up) and roast for 35 mins at 180 degrees on a tray.

Step 2.

Pan fry the cannelloni beans and 2-3 tablespoons of habanero sauce till bubbling, season lightly and squeeze in some lime juice, turn down and keep simmering,

Step 3.

Cop the tomatoes and radishes into a fine salsa, and squeeze more lime juice and a pinch of salt, set aside

Step 4.

Mix 4 tablespoons of sour cream with a couple jiggers of the chipotle sauce, stir till nice and smooth and a 10-20% tint of your red theme.

Step 5.

Toast the flour or corn tacos in the oven till warm and lightly browned

Step 6.

Heap two tables spoons of the beans into the taco, a chunk of the delicious crispy chipotle red cauli on top, then a spoonful or two of the red salsa, and a lather of the tinted chipotle cream. Garnish with paprika coriander *note I cheated and got to hungry and didn’t do this step, but own the red theme.

Step 7.

Devour with a beer and then do some more design work from home as there is no office hours, any time of day is good.


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