Purpose-Built: Why design matters

Environmental Psychology tells us a lot about how humans respond to the details within a space, most of which is subconscious. There is a reason why successful hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops & spas look the part: they realise that customer service and user experience includes interiors and architecture in an overwhelming way. Luke Blackwell has a great article outlining why restaurant interior design is just as important as the quality of the cooking. If you can afford to run a business, you can’t afford to not invest in your interiors. Below are a few examples of exceptionally purpose-built interiors and short reasons why.

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Atrium at Warren & Mahoney, Christchurch. Image credit of Warren & Mahoney.

The Christchurch studio for Warren & Mahoney is a unique, bold move in purpose-built design. The open-plan top and bottom levels foster rich collaboration and creativity among the team. They embrace the layout as a way to cross-pollinate ideas, have impromptu social discussions that are breeding grounds for enhancing design. At the heart of it all is the stairwell atrium that serves as bleacher-styled seating area for company-wide meetings, briefings, events and presentations. A massive screen drops down above the reception area for presentations, allowing for over 100 people to view presentations at a time. The space includes a board room, meeting rooms and breakout areas, but all members of staff work in the open plan office setting, including Christchurch principles, which ensures a feeling of equality and unity among the team.

Translating purpose-built ideals for homes is just as important as in the commercial sector. It is still all about the function of the space and who will be using it. A great example of this is Bob Burnett Architecture‘s 10-star, passive Superhome in Church Square, Christchurch. The purpose of the building was to create a sustainable Superhome, large enough to fit a small family with plenty of living space, while only occupying 90 square metres on the section. The brief also included the flexibility for the house to be used as an office and be very modern in style. Burnett created the perfect solution for the brief. The unique purpose-built solutions include storage for shoes and photo-voltaic power batteries under the stairs, walk-in-pantry with shutting door, omitting the obligatory kitchen island in order to combine dining and kitchen spaces, smart nook spaces, such as desk space at the top of the stairs and in the lounge. The thermally broken PVC double glazed windows and insulated foundations ensure that heat stays in the home, reducing energy usage.

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Kitchen of Kiwiana home, showing sliding windows to the outdoor kitchen. Image credit of Horncastle Homes.

Another great example of residential purpose-built design is Horncastle Homes recent Kiwiana show home. The show home doesn’t stand with the stock-standard kitchens with a walk-in-pantry and stone bench top. The consideration of the lifestyle of a young, relaxed family drove the designers to create an open kitchen with stainless steel bench for functionality, fully flanked by window stackers that allow for easy access to the outdoor kitchen.

The possibilities for customisation are endless, so if you’re thinking about building or renovating, start paying attention to your hobbies and how you behave at home. Are there rooms you don’t like spending time in? Consider why you enjoy some spaces and not others. Charles and Ray Eames, designers from mid 20th century, once lived with another family for months to study how they lived in order to design the perfect home for them. If you start planning a home or commercial building based on the standards, you will get a generic experience. If you pay attention to what you love, what kind of spaces inspire and uplift you, you can create similar effects within your own space, for a more enjoyable lifestyle.

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