The brief for this work entailed designing a new office space for the relocation of Phil Redmond Architecture + Urbanism.
Ever admirers of the 1970s Christchurch style, the studio was moved to ‘Poynton House’, a small three level building constructed of concrete block and precast concrete ribbed floors.
The design team saw the potential to pull the exterior quality of the building into the new office space. However since its construction in 1976, four decades of tenants had covered up its original interior qualities with grid ceilings, carpet and an accumulations of conduits and trunking. It needed to be restored it to its former glory with a studio space that people could look forward to working in.
The aim was for the office to have a relaxed, fun and welcoming feel while remaining open and informal. Conceived as a casual living room, the studio caters to different ways of working and creating and encourages a fluid interchange between team members, filled with furniture, books and objects.
The design strips back the layers of office fit-outs added over the years to reveal and express the construction of the building, adding minimal built partitions, using instead carefully placed joinery units and linen curtains to break up the space.
Ever fascinated by the ephemeral design of the Memphis Group and Italian radical design, excerpts of colour and abstract decoration position and subtly contrast themselves among the modernist structure of white block and concrete.
Existing concrete beams are highlighted from the white walls and concrete ceiling in Resene Silver Chalice. This colour really complemented the raw concrete tones of the ceiling and created the contrast to the white walls.
Sitting beneath one of these beams is a focal metre deep joinery unit. This unit creates a ‘wall’ that serves to divide the back of house area (kitchenette, material library and printing), from the main studio space while still maintaining transparency through to the coffee machine located on the studio side.
As such a strong focal piece it cried out for a bold, deep colour to create interest. Resene Mangrove was the perfect colour, the deep green works cohesively with the steel shelving, and is partnered it with an even deeper green steel benchtop. It serves as both a functional yet heavily curated piece.
To expose the building’s beautiful ribbed concrete ceiling, thoughtful concealment of electrical and data services was employed. Thin Resene Blackjack and Resene Ecru White painted conduits are pinned off the ceiling, servicing the black track light fittings that run the length of the studio.
To provide services to desk spaces which float in the space, large coloured columns were designed to hide the electrical and data services needed to make these workspaces functional. Resene Negroni was the colour selected for these columns as it contrasted nicely with the Resene Mangrove green and added a softer tone. Resene Negroni was used also to paint a David Hockney style pattern above the office window.
The sheen was kept low throughout with Resene Lumbersider low sheen for interior concrete block walls and Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for plasterboard. Resene White was used across main wall surfaces, a neutral backdrop for the other more coloured areas.
All painting was done in house by PRau team members. Nothing went to waste; leftover Resene testpots were used to paint an Alvar Aalto 60 Stool for the studio.
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