The showcase is about an experience different from the wide open marketing of Queen Street – shrouded in a glossy black diaphanous mesh, it is about veiled seduction, not explicit exposure. A collection of small apertures are placed within that mesh, offering fleeting but focused glimpses of the delights secreted inside. At night, hundreds of meters of LED lights glow inside the facade, emphasising its soft translucency while using only the power of only three kettles.
Neither shop-fronts nor doors are located on the street. Instead, a single closed building is pulled apart at its centre; visitors enter the site in the rupture between these two parts, slipping through native Totara hedges into a private garden sanctuary.
At its very centre stand seven Pou Tu Te Rangi; tall, proud and erect, these sculptures by local Maori artist Chris Bailey claim the sanctuary for the Cooper family that conceived and developed it. Either side of the garden, the buildings finally open up: frameless glass stretches across the entire site and gives on to four broad retail spaces offering a carefully curated mix of fashion and technology. Shopping here is deliberate, and engaging.
This is also a temporary project, on a site previously used as an open-air car park Requisitioned for five years, it will eventually become the site of a major commercial development. To make sense of this, the buildings needed to be easily dismantled and relocated. They are comprised of simple construction technologies treated with great care.
At rapid speed, the team developed a modular, prefabricated building with clip- and bolt-together components that were at once swift to install and elegant enough to deliver a building of sophistication and conviction in the hard core of the city.
Photographer Jeremy Toth