Aspect have always been passionate about the thoughtful design and functionality of their furniture. But they’re also well aware that it takes an equally thoughtful and functional workspace layout to unlock the full potential of their products. So with their brand-new Parnell showroom, Aspect wanted a space that would not only show off their range of cutting-edge office furniture, but also showcase how that furniture might function in a modern, active working environment.
Situated in the heart of Auckland’s oldest suburb, Aspect’s St Georges Bay Road location houses an open-span warehouse showroom that is both generous in space and rich with history. When approaching their conversion, Aspect and their architects Warren & Mahoney quickly decided to leave the existing structure untouched and work with the historical features and character of the space. The industrial exposed brick has been lovingly preserved and the bareness of the warehouse has been utilised to striking effect.
Jonathan Coote of Warren & Mahoney had previously been involved in the completion of Aspect’s Christchurch showroom and noted that their team had some “good design strands to develop and promote into this project”. “Client hosting was clearly communicated as a priority, and this is at the core of any Aspect showroom”.
On of the most stunning features of the new showroom (and one of its biggest challenges to work with) is its staircase. Both a divider of the different product spaces and a work of art in its own right, the staircase was nevertheless a challenge for all involved. “The setout and design of the staircase, particularly the structural response, was a very tricky piece to get right”, says Coote. “The base-build stair was not only in the wrong spot but was inhibiting the ability to showcase product. The stairs swiftly became the pivot point for this project, separating entertaining and hosting, from display and staff workplace. We are delighted at how well it’s come out”.
Another pivotal feature of the new showroom is its chair wall - a sprawl of elevated platforms, adorned with Aspect seating, that runs floor to ceiling. Rather than wheeling out their product everytime a sales opportunity presents itself, the Aspect team now can point their clients to a live catalogue of furniture that is as visually dynamic as it is clever and practical.
The rest of the showroom is separated into active spaces of workstations, T-walls, privacy screens, soft seating and accessories. There’s an open-plan kitchen, replete with working television, that serves as an informal social environment for both staff and clients, perfect for both casual presentations and general hospitality. For more formal interactions, there’s the luxurious boardroom on the upper floor, fitted out with leather furnishings and custom hand-made rugs.
The greater purpose of this rebuild was to present an active work space that functions as both a low-pressure sales environment for clients and a functional work environment for staff. It makes a huge difference that clients are able to actually try out Aspect furniture in a working environment. Therefore, the space is set up as one, with staff and client alike able to hot-desk throughout the many working spaces of the showroom.
In this sense, the space is more than just a showroom - it’s a physical statement of the Aspect ethos. “Our people are passionate about providing workplace environments that keep up with global trends, local requirements and ever changing workstyles”, says Yvonne Berridge, the Regional Sales Manager at the Parnell Showroom. “Our culture is about team work, honesty, integrity and transparency.” The Parnell showroom is a living, breathing example of this transparency at work. Aspect are inviting clients not just to see their range of cutting-edge products, but to also experience them, alongside a passionate team of staff doing the same.
Jerry Pinker, the Auckland Business Development Manager for Aspect, couldn’t agree more. “It’s a great new space with excellent facilities to look after clients. That, along with some of the best furniture in the country, makes it a fantastic environment to be working in”.