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How do you perfect a HIVE?

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Interior designer Amy Henderson shares some of her secrets.

When I first visited the long expansive interior of what is now Hastings HIVE, I admit to being somewhat daunted by the challenge. Equally though, I was really excited by the brief and the possibilities of breathing new life into this precious place.

The brief was to provide co-working and serviced office spaces that inspire and, at the same time, are "simply sophisticated". Then there was this distinct concept of the space being a "hive of activity" and very much a communal place, one to be enjoyed by all the occupants.

I started with a conceptual design to determine the "look and feel" which was then overlaid with the material finishes so the clients could visualise the final outcome. With enthusiastic support, I moved to the detail design phase and produced around 50 working drawings, which included specifications for provisioning the data, electronic access and digital media. Only when you see all these details can you really appreciate how this will in fact be an amazing i-space to work in.

Overseeing the design details on site was the final step in the design phase, which enabled me to help ensure the highest standard of fit-out was achieved. It was great to work with the other talented organisations to bring an extremely high-quality finish, in a cost-effective manner. Having worked on major fit-outs in Europe, I am so impressed with the quality being achieved right here and the wonderful finishes available to me as a designer.

I was the first one to coin the names "i-desk" and "i-office", whilst conceptualising how these spaces would actually be used. This helped me be clear on which design elements to use and where they would be needed. I deliberately specified warm but neutral colours with an emphasis on natural materials, to provide an atmosphere conducive to co-working, but also for wellbeing.

Then I wanted to enable occupants to introduce their own brand identities, so their individual work environments would reflect and support their own organisations and purpose.

The materials I chose are of a very high quality and selected for functionality, longevity and appearance. All co-working spaces and offices have acoustic pin-walls, giant glass writing-boards, attractive privacy film on glazed partitions, durable urban-oak wall linings, timber veneer doors and a bespoke HIVE carpet tile design. I brought in some extra texture in the furnishings with a contemporary look and sourced the most amazingly comfortable, super-supportive chairs - you’ve just got to try them!

In the shared spaces, I wanted to have a little fun with colours and form. Firstly, and at the heart of any HIVE, is the coffee machine, in a vibrant café-style breakout space. Reflecting the theme , I introduced honeycomb elements with feature yellow shelves, pin-walls and a striking illuminated mirror backsplash. Carrara-look counters and café-style furniture invite people in. But I wanted this to be a practical as well as visually appealing space, so a full recycling station, chilled still and sparkling water station and dark-glass message board have all been incorporated, with plenty of storage, dual integrated fridges and Dish Drawers.

I was thrilled to find Pollen who supplied the distinctive honeycomb wall with matching feature lighting and wall planter fittings.

Green Goose brought in attractive and healthy plants to transform the structure into a green wall and then filled the large planter designs around the i-space with colour and more greenery. Great job guys.

In the breakout lounge, I introduced the feature yellow again to stimulate users, while still maintaining a quiet and relaxed feel with soft lighting, beautiful fabrics, sound-dampening panels, both wall and ceiling hung, comfortable furniture and of course more planting. Local photographer Tim Whittaker, provided beautiful images for the breakout and circulation spaces, so the stunning Hawke’s Bay is proudly featured throughout.

The meeting rooms and boardrooms feature bespoke joinery design, innovative lighting and high-performance furniture with multi-media connectivity. There are modern flat-screen displays in each room that double as picture frames for Tim’s colourful digital imagery. The two boardrooms were the most complex to design - but I think you will enjoy the soundproof operable wall and flip tables that allow a number of different room layouts, from twin formal board tables to a single good-sized theatre setting.

The high-spec bathrooms and showers had some challenges, considering up to 150 people may work in Hastings HIVE at any time, yet the brief called for spa quality finishes and luxurious touches. I hope the users derive as much pleasure luxuriating in them, as I did designing them.

It’s always exciting to see your ideas come to fruition and this project has fulfilled my vision for a place I would personally love to work. After all, not many designers get to create a HIVE!

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