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. 

 

Client
MCHL and IHG
Project
A New Energy, A New Christchurch
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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.   

Client
Foodstuffs
Project
Fresh Collective
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A Welcoming Heart

We are currently working with the Holiday Inn, Auckland to redevelop and design their existing public facilities which include; reception, lobby, restaurant, bar, pool area, porte cochere and guest corridors.

Our brief is to create an experience for guests and visitors building on the heritage, community and cultural significance of the site and alignment to the Holiday Inn positioning. The idea is ‘A Welcoming Heart’. The open space on the site is like the open space on a marae - welcoming to everyone and used by the whole community. We have broken the idea into three key sections. 

1. Welcome to all; travelers, families, diners, diplomats, politicians and business people.

2. A Connection at the heart of our community; open for dining, weddings, ceremonies and family events

3. A Network that is representative of our city; a hub for corporate conferences, seminars and events

Presently we are focusing on the redesign of the restaurant area. Keeping true to the pacific heart and holiday feel concept we have created a space that is; vibrant, relaxed, inviting, informal and unique. We have used a bright, fresh and natural palette of materials and finishes that are local, authentic and fresh. Injections of color and pattern bring the pacific holiday concept to life. The combination of hanging plants, cane light shades, range of fabrics, feature wall and timber floor create a rich and colorful experience. The plan is an unusual shape, therefore we have worked hard to create a layout that allows all diners to feel part of the experience. The overall approach to the dining experience is a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The large scale illustration which wraps around the restaurant is to celebrate New Zealand art, flora & fauna, birds, wildlife and natives. It changes material as it wraps around eg. tiles along buffet and can change in scale, tone, colour and intensity throughout the piece. The benefits are that is can be viewed and enjoyed from any angle throughout the restaurant, for example it can be seen from reception. The result is a burst of color,life, energy and a piece that engages the whole restaurant! 

Client
Holiday Inn, IHG
Project
A Welcoming Heart
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Creating a warm welcome

The client brief was to design an exhibition space for Fonterra’s new Headquarters building to showcase their history, present and future.

The most important elements to consider were that the exhibition had; a modular approach, centered on the co-operative and their farmers, needs to be grounded, reflect dairy for life story, focus on Fonterra and it’s people, a simplified exhibition design with a palette of honest materials.

The opportunity for the design of the Fonterra Dairy for Life hub and Retail experience, was to create a natural walk through a space that physically, visually and expediently tells the Fonterra Dairy for Life story. The environment needed to be familiar to visitors, but delivered in a new and fresh way, a natural walk, allowing visitors to discover spaces naturally. The space is divided into zones, each with a clear hierarchy with the intention of inspiring, informing and finally intriguing visitors. The exhibition was designed around consistent visual language that is clear, simple and grounded, naturally sophisticated with minimal use of material and colour. 

The space is framed by a ‘foundation’ wall which depicts important events in the history of Fonterra, this frames the flow of the journey, with modular units of varying sizes making up each story and creating three distinctive zones. The intention was to have a very grounded space with only a small selection of materials used. The exhibition space, compliments the retail space by utilising similar materials, however these are finished with a more polished and crisper aesthetic. The exhibition which tells the Fonterra Dairy for Life story of ‘all the way from their farms to consumers' homes’, is unique in that at the end of their ‘journey’ visitors can purchase the end product from the retail store. 

We have used a variety of devices to engage with visitors throughout their ‘journey’ thorough the space, from an electric glass ‘window’ at the entrance which partially masks the exhibition and gives a projected welcome message, then finishes up as clear glass allowing visitors to see the exhibition space laid out before them.

Client
Fonterra Co-operative Group
Project
Fonterra Dairy for Life Visitor Experience
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Co-operative Edge

Creating co-operative strength through scale and expertise to help farmers achieve new levels of performance and farm prosperity.

The launch of Farm Source signalled Fonterra’s commitment to give the best, most advanced and trusted offering to the co-operatives’ farmers. Farm Source has been developed to share the world-leading experience and networks of the global dairy giant to provide New Zealand farmers with a real co-operative advantage.

As a new business model, it’s been built to be the source of all things farming for the dairy farming community, designed to provide a totally integrated set of farming services, from farming support, business management through to everyday supplies. In a physical sense, the new offering landed first in Methven, as a connected ‘world’ – with a brand new store alongside an on-line support network. As a farming relationship brand, Farm Source has been systematically rolled out throughout New Zealand since 2015 with future plans in the works to broaden its scope through presence in international markets. In the spirit of the co-operative – Farm Source is a totally collaborative project between Fonterra and the Designworks team.

 

Client
Fonterra Co-operative Group
Project
Co-operative Edge
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