Posted by Celia Biggs / 17 March 2015
The building had been brought by a developer with the aim of providing retail on the ground floor and serviced apartments above. This included a structural upgrade which signalled significant disruptive construction within the current showroom.
Retail showrooms must draw people into every space, thus the allure of a comfortable open space over the two floors was essential. The client was looking for more space so it was decided to extend the showroom to the basement. Key to this was to ensure any stair was located and designed so it opened up the showroom below and connected the spaces together.
The old basement was damp and airless. Within the low heavily structured (as a result of extra steel and concrete after the 1931 Napier earthquake) 1930’s building new lighting, flooring and ventilation were fitted. On the upper floor of the showroom large north facing windows in the street showcase the products both day and night. With three sides having no glazing, the office is located at the rear, with a low window looking out across the space to the sun. Keeping customers in view and vice versa.
The materials are simple and strong. Essentially four elements. White walls and ceilings, exposed agregate concrete floor, a generous stair and the reception desk. The space is a backdrop for the furniture and lighting within it, and it must be easy for both customers and staff alike to engage, observe and see the changing products that define this showroom.
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