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Manukau Institute of Technology
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Manukau Institute of Technology


People & Culture Refit, Auckland

The existing space that housed the People & Culture team was a series of small dark offices whose decoration had not changed in many years. The windows were heavily draped with not just curtains but dusty net curtains interrupting the light and view to the external gardens of this building.

Pip Ball, People & Culture Director expressed a clear vision from the outset. Pip’s desire for this refit was for a space that consisted of an open plan office environment with social spaces and a variety of meeting room options available for the meetings and interviews that take place within a People & Culture environment. The aim of the redesign was to encourage a collaborative, connected work environment that represents the values and culture of the MIT workplace. This is especially important as the People & Culture team and their space are often the first interaction a potential employee has with MIT.

When designing the space Cathryn Davey created a series of meeting rooms using glazing and stacking doors to move and create small or large spaces as required. The rest of the office is open plan with a central utility area that houses the reused Lundia and provides a functional station for photocopying, filing etc. The other side of this area is used as an open meeting space with soft seating and a bar height desk and seating encouraging staff to meet away from their desks.

Now that the view to the outside is opened up and the space is light filled and flexible, the final flourish is planting atop the filing units that divide the working zones. These plants are not just for aesthetics or to improve the air quality but create a sense of ownership for the employees in the space as they take care of their working environment including the plants.

Manukau Institute of Technology

Resene Foggy Grey was chosen early in the project as a negative detail to accent the grain in the washed plywood feature wall and desk at reception. Resene Milk White, the main colour of the office space, gives a spacious feel and brings together the existing colours with the modern grey, grassy green and turquoise blue used in paint, fabrics and acoustic panelling.

Resene Foggy Grey
Resene Foggy Grey
Resene Milk White
Resene Milk White
Resene Alabaster
Resene Alabaster
Resene Crisp Green
Resene Crisp Green

The existing aluminium brown window frames are modernised throughout the space with the use of grey and sharp bursts of bright, yet muted greens and blues that tone in with the existing window frames as well as signal the change in space and programme. Fabric colours on both soft seating and screens are alternated throughout the space, as are the paint colours. The flooring is tonal in hues of brown and grey achieving a subtle balance of the old and new.

Manukau Institute of Technology refit

The soft seating was styled in a nod to the era of the building, yet updated with modern greys accented by a grassy green and sky blue. These fabric colours began to evolve into choices for paint colours for the walls. Ottoman seating dotted around the space is covered in Textilia Web fabric, linking the geometric forms at reception in both the blues and greens with the background colours in charcoal and brown.

The final space, an area for both social and formal meeting, stops where the colour story began with Resene Foggy Grey. The hallway doors viewed through the glazing in the meeting spaces are linked with a darker grey, using Resene Fuscous Grey from the Karen Walker Paints collection.

Open plan offices separated by plants

The colour palette also includes Resene Alabaster, Resene Crisp Green, with Resene Zylone Sheen used on most wall areas and Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel on trims and joinery.

The paint colours, fabric, flooring and blind colours were chosen in consideration of the existing building and in particular the brown aluminium windows that frame the entire perimeter of the office space. Budget constraints meant acknowledging the existing where possible rather than replacing with new. The desired outcome was a modern interior with a sophisticated colour palette that could stand the test of time.

Open plan offices separated by plants

Architectural specifier: Facilities Management MIT
Building contractor: Facilities Management MIT
Client: Pip Ball, People & Culture Director MIT
Colour selection: Cathryn Davey
Facilities management - hard fit-out project leaders: Ross Windle, Simon Judd MIT
Furniture fit-out for entire office and custom desk/feature wall: Nicola Fasano-King, Manager Furniture Lab
Painting contractor: Tama Nahi info@i-services.co.nz
Photographer: Pac Doc (Rocky)
Supplier – acoustic panels: Forman
Supplier – commercial carpet: Ian Williams, Irvine International Floors
Supplier – interior glazing: Bens Glass
Supplier - Phil Cuttance pendant light: Douglas and Bec
Supplier – reception ceiling panels: Decortech
Supplier – roller blinds: Frank He, Window Answers

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