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Mighty River Power Headquarters Fit-out


Material and colour inspiration came from the mighty Waikato River aptly situated alongside the new premises, where ideas of fluidity, energy, nature and place were abstracted to be brought into the interior environment.

Mighty River Power (MRP) commissioned the interior design of their new premises on the banks of the Waikato River, where dispersed staff teams were to be unified to enjoy a new sense of collaboration. The brief was to provide a new, modern and comfortable working environment befitting a talented team and reflecting the company's status as a major player in the energy market. The aim of the move was to increase operational efficiency through providing a collaborative workplace and assist in retaining and attracting quality people to the organisation through the provision of a healthy and dynamic working environment.


S&T's response to the brief was governed by a deep mutual understanding between the acting participants; this concord allowed going beyond usual, pragmatic limitation to include the dynamic and sensual. The designers took advantage of the expansive views and scenery to create an interior that unites with the outside, expressing the alignment of renewable hydro-energy with nature. Two open plan floors are visually unified by the centrepiece of the fit out; a generous staircase, providing an inter-connected environment conducive to working collaboratively and openly. Placed at the very core of the fit-out, the connecting stair provides a sculptural gesture to showcase the company’s enduring philosophy. S&T's design is configured with flexibility to accommodate the ever evolving business to meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's teams.

Seating area, stairwell

Material and colour inspiration came from the mighty Waikato River aptly situated alongside the new premises, where ideas of fluidity, energy, nature and place were abstracted to be brought into the interior environment capturing a desirable and playful notion of indoor – outdoor connection and flow which is quintessentially New Zealand.

The vigour of the river is translated in the refreshing pastel tones of Resene Half Reservoir, Resene Half Kandinsky and Resene White used in Resene Imperite in changing order on full height faceting colourback glass walls in reception and the open plan workspaces to create changing reflections, and to enhance the sensation of light and water with a sense of limitlessness and grandeur; reminiscent of the river's glistening water.

Interior colours and materials

The coolness of these walls are contrasted by a welcoming warm timber edge grain floor in the reception area and furthermore the pastel is in contrast to the deep, rich and stony tones of the carpet design in the workspaces, which is a field of swirling vortices in green-blue and grey tones, like the river. The design looked for the energies in texture and space that would lead people to move through it.

These colour tones were used in combination to seek a dynamic outlook for the overall scheme. In areas such as the breakouts, they are accented by brighter vibrant colours highlighting the MRP’s new corporate branding, such as mandarins, purples, maroons etc, featured in the joinery and office furniture. Colourful ‘communication crescents’ at the corners of the open plan floors offer space for informal meetings or social engagement. The workspace include desks which are placed in ‘swarms’ – a loose arrangement maximising space enabled by cabling in a raised-floor.

Seating area, work space

Made of steel, the stair is robust, tectonic and cascading, referencing the enduring structure of the hydro dams, further nuanced with timber treads and handrails, and perforated balustrade fins. Resene Black White provides a neutral backdrop with the timber floor finished in Resene Qristal ClearFloor and the reception with Resene SpaceCote in Resene Black.

Motivating change was key to the success of Mighty River Power's new workplace, consisting mostly of engineers, dedicated to exactitude and utility. The space needed to be re-imagined in a way that staff could understand the transition and the value it would create for their work lives, while still encouraging interaction – ultimately leading to the desired 'one office' goal.

Meeting space, bathrooms

S&T supported the transition by taking away the excess and replacing with renewed, simple and sustainable systems and features, considering each individual's unique skill sets and workspace requirements to design a flexible and balanced space, in which the straight is in delicate equilibrium with the winding.

The client has since expressed how their new headquarters have been a popular destination, attracting MRP staff from various locations outside of Hamilton to host workshops and meetings which had never happened in the past at their old premises.

Architectural specifier: Stephenson & Turner Architects
Building contractor: Hawkins Construction
Client: Mighty River Power
Painting contractor: GMR Holmac
Other key contributor: Crestline Furniture Systems
Other key contributor: Fernlea Cabinetry and Joinery Ltd
Other key contributor: PacMan Associates Ltd
Other key contributor: Stephenson & Turner Engineers
Other key contributor: Structure Design
Photographer: Paul McCredie, Sacha Stejko, Bruce Clark
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2015

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