Icebreaker Head Office Fitout, Auckland

Client: Icebreaker
Timeframe: Completed 2014
Total value: $1.5m

Components: Commercial office fitout

Project description:

The Icebreaker head office fitout was a project that saw the company relocate from Wellington to Auckland to a space with high design expectations to reflect the ‘young at heart’ brand that the business is based around.

Completed under a very tight programme the high spec fitout made use of open office, formal and informal spaces that can be used by both Icebreaker staff and clients to support collaboration and supplier interaction. In and around the collaboration spaces feature graphics, photos and product samples highlight the company’s end-to-end development processes while also connecting with the brand’s history.

Our role

As a company with a strong brand focus the consultant team, managed by Xigo, worked closely with Icebreaker through design to realise the visual requirements for the space with visits to the former head office in Wellington, staff interaction and research into the brand’s image.

While creating the design for the fitout, Xigo managed Icebreakers consultant team in coordination with base build designers to develop solutions to overcome constraints between the two parties.

As the construction programme had to coordinate with a live base build site the project had to manage both the Icebreaker stakeholders and consultant team as well as the base build landlord, design consultants and contractors.

Main challenges

The biggest challenge for the project was the very tight programme compounded by having to work on level 2 of a live base build site with access issues. There was no flexibility on Icebreakers move in date as the company was not simply relocating offices in Auckland but shifting their head office from Wellington to Auckland. To de-risk the programme for the move in date the programme focussed on staff areas, kitchen and key meeting rooms for early delivery so that Icebreaker could move in and use the space while the balance of the works were being completed.

The complexity in the design was another challenge that the project faced. To achieve the desired outcome for the client nearly every space and room in the tenancy had different wall types, ceilings and fittings which added pressure to supply chains and delivery dates in an already short programme. It was necessary to move away from regular suppliers and use specialists for some elements of the fitout especially in areas where unique products such as rammed earth were to be used.

Our approach

Icebreaker’s expectation was that the office would reflect the ‘young at heart’ culture that the business is based around. This was achieved with themed spaces that were designed to reflect Icebreaker product uses with the ski, hunt, trail running and yoga rooms.

Functionally the fitout made use of open office, formal and informal spaces that can be used by both Icebreaker staff and clients to support collaboration and supplier interaction. In and around the collaboration spaces feature graphics, photos and product samples highlight the company’s end-to-end development processes while also connecting with the brands history.

Typically an external product, the most unique feature in the fitout are the rammed earth walls made from soil and clay compressed for structural stability used as feature to give the fitout the feeling of being outdoors. To match this outdoor theme a decommissioned ski chair was fitted as a distinctive casual space for staff mounted to the ceiling and fixed so that it can sway in any direction as it would on a ski lift.