Newmarket, Auckland


Creating a modern working environment for Honda New Zealand’s new Head Office.

With the lease on their existing office space due to expire, Honda NZ decided to relocate their head office to within their Honda Newmarket building.

Our brief was to create a calm and functional office environment, identifying areas within the existing building which could be reconfigured and brought in line with Honda’s ethos, branding and history as a Japanese company. The Honda team based in Japan also expressed a desire for a ‘Japanese garden’ – to be used as a relaxation and breakout space for the staff – and we made the decision to subtly expand the influence of Japanese architecture throughout the fitout.

The project had an extremely tight timeframe from project inception through to consent lodgement, as the offices had to be ready to move into before the old office’s lease expired. When rationalising the design requirements for the space (which were quite fluid), we had to be flexible and agile – accommodating design changes without compromising the programme.

Working with the constraints of the existing space, which wasn’t originally designed for office use, was also a challenge – particularly when it came to incorporating as much natural light/exterior windows as we possibly could in the new design. Sliding windows with rain sensors were utilised in the unique ‘Japanese garden’ space, allowing an outdoor feel but maintaining a weathertight space lined with perforated ply acoustic panelling. Acoustic ceiling baffles with a timber batten design were also used.

For the design of the breakout area, we chose an engineered timber flooring configured in a traditional ‘tatami mat’ design, with attention to layout and proportion. We also took the unusual step of exposing the existing ceiling to highlight the steel truss within the office space. Robust fire rated materials and installations were chosen while allowing the design to reflect the very natural form of Japanese design.

Many of the materials used are durable and robust, such as the baffles, which are metal but give a soft appearance to the rooms they’re installed in. As Honda’s brand colour and a traditional colour of Japan, red is featured on all levels.

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