Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company and had spent 10 years based in Auckland’s Britomart GPO Building. Maersk was moving to a new location at 151 Victoria Street with an aim to create an Oceania Head office for its 112 people and approached Stack to deliver a flexible, contemporary workplace that encouraged and supported collaboration. It also needed to reflect their proud history to both staff and visitors alike. For Stack this was the third time in a row that Maersk had approached them for their office requirements and the challenge was to provide a new design that offered larger areas dedicated to flexible, multi-purpose breakout space as well as providing greater opportunities for meaningful collaboration. Throughout the 1350 sqm floorplate the Stack design team strategically placed a number of lounge spaces to accommodate multiple needs: singular focused work, hot desking and informal team meetings for up to 20 people. In addition these were supplemented by a collection of smaller settings which open to one another to allow cross-team work. Extra flexibility was offered by a multi-purpose room adjoining the café which acts as both a lunch area and an enclosed meeting space. It also allows for large ‘town hall’ meetings when used in conjunction with the café.
Overall this new office was a creative play on Maersk’s worldwide operations with the shipping container subtly referenced throughout the space. The initial design instinct had be to engage in a literal reconstruction. Yet the grunge of a container, plus its claustrophobic, restrictive dimensions, was at odds with both the professional result requested and the context of the new building. Instead the dimensionality of a container was used as a planning grid for all meeting rooms and spaces. The choice of fabrics, textures and graphics created a sense of locality and appropriateness to its Oceanic environment, while the reception counter references a vessel that is a very familiar sight in the nearby Auckland harbour.