A New Energy, A New Christchurch
Designworks was asked to create an innovative and fresh design approach to a well known local hotel, which has found a new site in Christchurch’s tallest existing building on an engaging corner opposite Victoria Park.
Before it fell in the 2011 earthquakes, the original Crowne Plaza Hotel was a Christchurch icon. It has been reincarnated through the bravery of its owners who have restored a former 17 floor 1980’s office building in order to breathe new life into the city and restore the city’s premier hotel. Our brief was to create a premium 4.5 star hotel experience that put a fresh spin on the Crowne Plaza brand as well as making it work locally, and to ignite the theatre and drama of the Performing Arts Precinct. As the city’s largest hotel attracting both locals and those from across the globe, the design needed to deliver an exciting and unique experience maximizing the 360 degree views of the Port Hills, Southern Alps and Pacific Ocean.
Our design idea was centered around a “New Energy” in Christchurch, building on the creative force that having a blank canvas unleashes. A reinvention of the guest experience based around being welcomed and how that flowed into relaxation, eating and working, across the entire hotel.On arrival to the 204 room hotel, guests are greeted with a welcoming and boldly crafted interior featuring timber slats wrapping the walls, accentuating height and anchoring the lobby space, bringing a warmth to the arrival experience.A large freeform mesh ceiling feature glows over the reception pods inspired by the winding Avon and the space connects to the adjacent lobby bar through a striking doubled sided central fireplace helping to draw guests inside.
The full height windows flood the ground floor with natural light during the day and the carefully curated and dramatic lighting brings the spaces to life as dusk falls and allows changing mood and atmosphere. The food and beverage experience is open and theatrical showcasing local cuisine from within the crafted café, sophisticated lobby bar and the Market Place restaurant, named after the original market on site. A grand open staircase connects to the first floor dining, library and meeting rooms and feature carpets and rugs have been carefully designed drawing inspiration from the braided rivers and typography of the South Island.
Key guestroom experiences are based around relaxing, working, eating, and being welcomed. Tranquil spaces that are connected to Christchurch, each room has a window seat framing the 360 degree views of the city and mountains beyond. Unique features of each guestroom include a Vida Poche to drop your keys, charge phone and hang your jacket at the door, a fully glazed wardrobe. The bed has a full height upholstered panel and an angled bedhead, there is flexible lighting, and a glass wall to open the bathroom up to the guestroom to connect the whole experience.
- MCHL and IHG
- A New Energy, A New Christchurch
A fresh take on a food retail experience
Designing the next generation of New Zealand food retailing. How a customer centric design process helped our client meet changing customer needs and stay a step ahead of the competition.
Facing increased competition and changing customer needs, Foodstuffs New Zealand challenged us to think smart, think small, and create a small format store that could represent the next generation of food retailing.
To help us innovate we undertook a customer led, rapid prototyping approach. Customer insights showed that people’s busier lives were shifting them from larger shops less often to small shops more frequently, and fast wholesome meal creation was a core need that wasn’t currently being met. In essence, they wanted fresh meals fast and with care. So we started by designing a concept with these needs at its heart, creating a unique, category changing experience that would exceed customer expectations. A new format that put fresh meals at the heart of life.
We used a design thinking approach and built a full-scale prototype store interior. This allowed us to test, in real time, people’s reactions to some of our ideas for new layouts and the product offer. It proved to be an invaluable tool in building confidence in the concept – and helping iron out the important operational changes that needed to accompany any new concept.
The Fresh Collective design process was, for us, a way to involve customers in the creation of a new brand. Capturing their reactions to guide the ideal experience, and paying attention to how people connect on a physical and sensory level.
Early signs are that customers are responding very well to the new concept. It shows us that brands and experiences don’t just need to feel more human. They need to be created in a more human way.
- Fresh Collective