The new lounge hopes to serve as a comfortable, functional, and enjoyable space for Air New Zealand’s loyal customer base.
The project goal was to complete a full refurbishment of the existing Air New Zealand domestic lounge within the same tenancy area (on level 2) at Wellington Airport’s domestic terminal to increase both the capacity and quality of offering to customers and align the lounge with the Air New Zealand Lounge Design Book principles.
The existing Air New Zealand was a lounge located on the second floor of the terminal building, 1,250m2 in size with a seat count of 339 seats.
The refurbished Air New Zealand lounge remained in the same location and through a new design and effective use of space now has a seat count of 374 seats. A production kitchen was constructed in old office space on level 0 to serve all three Air New Zealand lounges within the airport terminal. The lounge is Air New Zealand’s first tier 1 domestic lounge in the country to be completed as part of their wider programme to redevelop their lounge network, offering an improved food and beverage specification, high level finishes and several zones for customers to enjoy. These new zones include a media lounge, a bar lounge, a family zone, a business zone, a quiet zone, and a café.
The project brief was developed in late 2017, with design commencing in early 2018 and finishing later 2018. The project commenced construction in December of 2018 and was completed 12 months later. The project budget was $12 million with completion required by 21 December.
The new lounge hopes to serve as a comfortable, functional, and enjoyable space for Air New Zealand’s loyal customer base. Often the last stop for these customers and other frequent flyers as they depart Wellington, the lounge will leave a positive impression on those departing the capital.
As part of Air New Zealand’s Lounge Development Programme this project is one of a series of projects. Learnings from this project will inform others as the programme continues to roll out across Air New Zealand’s Lounge Network. Throughout the back of house areas, the kitchen and staff facilities will continue to provide the support needed to offer the high level of service Air New Zealand is world renowned for.
Points of difference and innovation:
Air New Zealand have developed branded colours with Resene including custom Air NZ Primary Violet and Teal. They have also branded Air NZ Cloud or Koru White and Air NZ Black which match some of the current Resene colours. Air New Zealand uses solely Resene paints in its building projects nationwide.
The ‘Air NZ Primary Violet’ is the feature colour of Air New Zealand’s Tier 1 International and Domestic Lounges and Tier 2 International Lounges whereas, “Air NZ Teal’ is the feature colour of Air New Zealand’s Tier 2 Regional Lounges and Tier 3 International and Regional Lounges. The ‘Air NZ WIte’ coloured ceilings and bulkheads provided a neutral soft backdrop against the LED lighting and on brand black walls. Resene ClinicalCote in Resene Rice Cake provided a change in neutrals for art lined walls. Resene ‘Air NZ Purple’ was used to highlight the female full height toilet doors in Resene Waterborne Uracryl clear finished in Resene Uracryl GraffitiShield and stuck out against Resene Nero door jambs. Similarly, Resene ‘Air NZ Teal’ in Resene Waterborne Uracryl clear finished in Resene Uracryl GraffitiShield was used to highlight the male full height toilet doors. All of the colour accented furniture including banquette seats, barstools and loose seating was chosen to match Resene ‘Air NZ Purple’. ‘Air NZ Jet Black was used on high plasterboard areas.
There were several design challenges that had to be considered in the development of the project brief:
There was an existing downward escalator to allow prompt exit into the terminal in the middle of the lounge. The operations team advised this was heavily used by regular travellers. However, there was a design opportunity for the downward escalator to be incorporated into the entry so the centre of the lounge became the new entry point to provide a single entry and exit point to the lounge which aligns with Air New Zealand's lounge service standards.
The design of the lounge needed to consider the changes proposed in the wider Wellington International Airport Master Plan which included staged replacements of all terminal lifts and escalators.
Due to the nature of the entry and exit points of this lounge it was challenging to try and stage this redevelopment. Some form of temporary lounge was required, including the offered space on level 1, provided for during construction.
Given the lack of space in the Wellington terminal a ‘grab and go’ offering was provided for customers using the temporary spaces. The kitchen, food and utilities also needed to be considered while the kitchen was being constructed on level 0. The old lounge furniture was reused in the temporary lounge space and the remaining furniture was donated to one of Air NZ’s partner charities. This included over 200 couches, 120 chairs, and 140 tables. This process was completed quickly with the assistance of the main contractor in order to start construction on level 2.
The two temporary lounge spaces were operating by April 2019. The level 0 production kitchen and BOH areas were completed in August 2019. The completion of this milestone allowed a lengthy soft start process to occur before the lounge was completed. The kitchen staff spent time training with the new kitchen equipment including two cool rooms, two freezer rooms, five metre long rangehoods, 90kg capacity ovens, two 24 litre capacity deep fryers, a 227 litre capacity soup kettle, two 120 litre bratt pans, a six element electric cooktop and a 180kg capacity blast chiller. The production kitchen began serving the temporary lounge thus improving the service. The kitchen also started serving the international and regional lounges in the terminal to alleviate pressure from their smaller kitchens.
There were several construction challenges that had to be resolved throughout the project duration:
Demolition of the level two space commenced in April 2019 with a complete strip out of the walls, ceilings, and services. The toilet and level two preparation kitchen construction commenced first around the installation of new services. The stair and escalator core construction commenced next with Wellington Airport responsible for replacing the escalator.
Construction of the walls and ceilings in the general lounge space commenced in late 2019. The level 2 preparation kitchen and bathrooms were completed mid-December to enable staff training and stocking. The general lounge space was completed on 16 December which enabled one week of training and stocking before the busiest day in the terminal – the 21 December.
Architectural specifier: ProDesigners Architects in association with Gensler
Building contractor: Alaska Construction and Interiors
Building owner: Wellington Airport
Client: Air New Zealand
Electrical engineers: Sharp Data Electrical
Engineers, services, seismic bracing engineer: JSK Consulting
Interior designer: Gensler
Kitchen design, supply and install: Wildfire
Mechanical and hydraulic engineers: Thurston Consulting
Painting contractor: Freear Philip Painting
Project manager: Octa Associates
Structural and fire engineers: Beca
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2020
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