An Auckland hotel project allowed a boutique design studio to deliver the unexpected and demonstrate its capacity to reinvent.
Until recently, the hotel offering across Auckland has languished as limited and lacklustre – a weak point for travellers to the city. But with international operators responding to design and travel trends, the industry is finally undergoing a shift to refined, bespoke options.
Naumi Hotel, owned by Singapore’s Hind Group, is a new offering near Auckland Airport that showcases site-specific design and how that’s achieved with local talent. Multi-disciplinary design studio, Material Creative, has applied its skills in spatial design and interior architecture to the 195-room, 10,500 square metre project.
“We believe in authenticity and this resonates in the creation of inspired interiors,” says Toni Brandso, one half of the Material Creative team. Established a decade ago with Liv Patience, the duo extends its talents across the hospitality, residential and commercial sectors.
“The Naumi brand is playful and unexpected, yet considered, and our brief was to create a unique and distinctively New Zealand boutique hotel that encompasses their ideals,” says Patience. “They wanted a hotel like no other in the New Zealand market – an exhilarating experience and feast for all the senses. As spatial designers with a strong architectural sensibility, our integrated designs tell a unique story and each project has its own narrative.”
Formerly the Hotel Grand Chancellor, the hotel required an entire re-fit, from the exterior cladding and signage, through to new interior layouts and configurations. Brandso and Patience apply their
story-telling philosophy to each project, and took a treasured New Zealand native bird, the tui, as the reference point for Naumi.
“It’s a bird that’s entered our national consciousness like no other,” says Patience. “They have an array of shimmering metallic greens with blue, purple and bronze accents, and their filament-like neck feathers and tufty throat complete the brilliant display. The tui’s playful, cheeky and joyful character is hinted at in all spaces, leading your eye through the hotel.”
Technology is integral to helping Material Creative communicate their visual stories to clients and the HP Spectre laptop was invaluable throughout the Naumi project. “The Spectre is the most versatile piece of technology we own,” says Patience. “The pen enables us to draw on screen – it’s the perfect amalgamation of hand drawing and technology,” she says.
From specs to colour tones, details can be easily changed and communicated to clients both on and offsite, which keeps decision making nimble. “It’s great on site as we can draw over the top of photos and PDFs and make whatever changes are necessary, then send them to the client for approval,” says Brandso. “It also ties us back to our roots and makes us feel more in touch with the drawing process.”
With countless decisions to be made and timelines to be managed throughout the Naumi project, the Spectre became a key part of the process. The results of creativity and technology working together are impressive – the hotel’s interior palette draws on the tui’s rich gradient of colours, referenced as a gradual progression from the entry through to each individual room.
“Your first impression – the reception, communal spaces, restaurant and bar – are made up of emerald greens, jewellike blues and purple-magenta splashes,” says Patience. “Gold features in feathered accents from the layered leaf canvas artwork at reception, through to discs and lighting that offset the beauty of deeper colour tones. Progressing down the hallways throughout the hotel, the tones are monochromatic, with colour pops to the carpet for wayfinding. On entering the rooms, the colour and energy of the tui greets you with an uplifting palette.”
Top The tui-inspired palette in the lounge area at Naumi Hotel.
Above Toni Brandso and Liv Patience with the HP Spectre at the Material Creative studio.