Whitestone Cheese is a small giant of the dairy industry – privately owned and operated it has grown in the past 30 years from humble beginnings in a garage into a New Zealand success story, one of the most innovative and successful New Zealand owned companies.
In their 30th year Whitestone Cheese was experiencing major growth and was undergoing a major factory expansion which would double their cheese making capacity. Three options were reviewed for office space - going up, going out or using the new factory expansion to enclose the office within with views to the east sea.
The preferred option was to move into the factory floor taking a proportion of the development and gain sea views to the east. The beauty of this decision was that the office space would be integrated into the factory which from a design perspective meant a range of materials from factory wall panel and exposed concrete walls and beams could be used.
This project provided the opportunity to have a restricted palette and use colour to soften the hard edges of the factory design.
Alongside the palette the history and heart of Whitestone Cheese needed to be brought to the forefront of the office design. An old stainless cheese brine tub was upcycled as the reception counter, cheese hoops were repurposed as lighting, and a wall of frame was created using old factory shelving.
Within the main office space they were a range of wall finishes to contend with including an exposed concrete wall at the entrance which was to be kept for its textural beauty. Another wall was in factory grade panel which brought the factory element to the space. Three new built rooms were all finished in plasterboard. With this range of materials, a soft colour was needed that would bring the elements together to reduce the harshness of the exposed concrete and be telling of the region. The choice of Resene Smoky Green on the feature wall gave the space a gentleness, a sereneness for a calm working environment. This colour was repeated in the boardroom to provide a calm environment for meetings.
The use of white within the space was to reference cheese, milk and limestone – the perfect colour proved to be Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Chalk Dust, which was continued from walls to ceilings. Resene Nero was painted under the bespoke writing desks to keep them as the hero.
The CEO’s office needed a professional, contemporary and current palette, achieved using a paint effect with a half wall in Resene Foggy Grey and a half wall in Resene Chalk Dust.
The biggest challenge was in the construction of the site and ensuring the office was going to be warm and inviting within the factory walls. The balance of the design came through the paint colours, bringing softness to the industrial edge. This site would not have been as successful if those paint colours were not used.
Architectural specifier: Ian Perry
Building contractor: Breen Construction
Client: Whitestone Cheese
Colour selection: Annabel Berry, Design Federation
Painting contractor: A1 Painters and Decorators
Photographer: Rachel Wybrow
Stylist: Meghan Nockels, Design Federation
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