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Offering clients a co-operative approach to design services is the central tenet behind this new design studio – itself a collaborative effort

design for tomorrow

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The concept of affiliated companies working in concert may not be a new one. However, The Annex at 49 takes this notion and amplifies it, offering a comprehensive design studio environment for the commercial and residential markets.

Most people are aware of boutique businesses that offer, say, interior design services, with a retail arm selling soft furnishings and the like, says Shelley Brockliss, manager of Yellowfox design, one of the companies behind The Annex at 49.

"What we plan to achieve with Annex is to provide clients with a single destination, where they can find architects, landscape designers, graphic and interior designers, builders, quantity surveyors, custom furniture design, and so forth. The limits to who can link in with Annex are practically boundless."

At present The Annex at 49 encompasses eight studio spaces, shared meeting rooms and a comprehensive library of architecturally-specific products.

High-profile, independently owned companies with an existing identity, have the ability to work alongside like-minded contemporaries.

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The collaborative ethos driving The Annex at 49 also extends to its own inception. Yellowfox, in partnership with iCandi, was commissioned to establish an innovative working environment, and turned to its own network of associates to realise the concept.

"Yellowfox has always given priority to developing and maintaining strong associations with well-known companies in design and construction."

"Companies such as Bestwood, Resene, Ontera, Tile Warehouse, Chaincraft and many more, have played a role in taking Annex from vision to realisation. As much as The Annex at 49 is a space for designers to ply their trade, it is an endorsement of the very products we specify to our clients."

"Every client who walks through the doors of The Annex at 49 has access to a creative, design-specific hub with add-on services, which, in today's busy world, is invaluable," says Brockliss.

For any office environment, durability is a primary concern. Choosing products that are hard-wearing and will retain their good looks is the first priority for any commercial designer.

Accordingly, the Yellowfox team specified Bestwood Melamine products for the fit-out of The Annex at 49.

"Bestwood Melamine is tough, scratch resistant and above all, durable," says Shelley Brockliss, manager of Yellowfox. "These qualities make it particularly suited to office fit-outs. We chose Arctic White for the desks and wall units to contrast the vibrant surrounds. However, we could have chosen any finish from the wide range of colours, patterns and wood grains available."

Bestwood Melamine comes in seven thicknesses from 6mm to 30mm, and is available with a choice of five substrates, including low formaldehyde MDF, says Jeff Curtiss, Bestwood commercial manager.

"Due to its scratch-resistant surface, Bestwood Melamine is suitable for use on cupboards, shelves, pantries and cabinets, storage units, bathroom and laundry cabinetry, wardrobes, general shelving, and much more. Additionally, our manufacturing process ensures the colours will never streak or craze."

Bestwood Melamine can be edge-finished in Melamine, PVC edgetape or by postforming, to create a seamless, rolled edge. Surface finishes are available in a choice of gloss, velvet, embossed, wood grain or supermatte.

"The applications for Bestwood Melamine run the full gamut from commercial to residential," says Curtiss. Creating a point of difference in any interior scheme is the goal for every designer. Innovative products that combine form and function will always have a place.

Parametre by 3form is just such a product. Made from non-woven polyester, this 3D, flexible textile is anti-microbial, anti-static and while it looks delicate, is surprisingly sturdy, making it ideal for The Annex at 49, says Shelley Brockliss of Yellowfox.

"Parametre is the latest in screening products. Lightweight and expandable, Parametre allows you to create intimate spaces that play with light and shadow – an ever-changing outlook of transparency and solidity."

Parametre is available through Bestwood, along with 3form Varia and 3form Chroma, says Jeff Curtiss.

"Parametre is available in three patterns – Mega was chosen for the Annex fit-out – and eight colours. Again, for Annex, Eggshell White and Green Apple were specified.

"Three standard sizes are available, however Parametre can be customised to any size up to 4m wide by 5m high."

Industrial-strength magnets hold Parametre in place and make it easy to move when spaces need to adapt.

"Ultimately, it was Parametre's adaptability that sold us on the product," says Brockliss. "With the minimum of fuss, we were able to configure the layout to suit the current needs of Annex. However, just as easily, we can reconfigure the whole space as our needs change – an invaluable feature in a growth industry."

The impact of environmental consciousness on industry has never been greater. Consumers are calling for products whose life cycles have a minimal effect on the environment – from manufacture through to end-of-life.

As a centre of progressive design, it was important for The Annex at 49 to be a showcase for innovative products, says Yellowfox manager Shelley Brockliss.

"Varia by 3form is a product that encompasses the latest technologies with a commitment to the environment. Made from a minimum of 40% pre-consumer recycled resin, Varia is an ideal product for any sustainable project."

In a commercial setting where establishing a sense of collaboration and openness was paramount, Varia has again proved itself up to the task.

"Varia consists of up to five separate layers, with a pattern and/or colour layer interposed with translucent layers in a variety of textured finishes," says Jeff Curtiss of Bestwood, distributor of 3form products. "With nine collections offering more than 100 patterns, Varia is as diverse as the name would suggest and brings a quintessential touch of individual style to any interior or architectural installation."

Workplace safety is also a big concern. Varia is nontoxic, carries a Euroclass B-S1 fire rating and has an impact strength 40 times that of glass.

"In every aspect Varia represents the melding of high design with total freedom – you choose the look you desire and Varia delivers," says Brockliss.

Several factors account for the choice of a product for an interior setting – among them is the reputation earned by the manufacturer. Over the past 25 years, Ontera has established itself as a leading producer of modular carpet systems, installing over 18 million m2 across New Zealand, Australia and China.

During that time, Ontera has been continuously refining its processes to ensure that clients are offered the best quality product in a timely manner, marketing manager David Rowlinson says.

"All Ontera products are produced in our Sydney facility and are supplied ex works within 3-4 weeks of receiving the order. This gives Ontera total control over manufacture and supply, and affords us the ability to build a reliable track record."

The company also reclaims carpeting from clients through a programme called Earthplus, and have thus far diverted 120,000m2 of used carpet from landfills.

"The company's commitment to customer service, as well as the wide range of colours and patterns available, made the decision to use their product in Annex an easy one," says Shelley Brockliss of Yellowfox.

"Ontera is completely invested in its products, a dedication that extends well past securing a sale. With an almost limitless range of style, colour and pattern combinations, Ontera modular carpets are suited to any office environment.

"For Annex we wanted to create an impact right from the first, and the ability to cut the Ontera tiles to any size resulted in the vibrant runway motif."

First impressions, no matter what the context, do count. Reputation, social responsibility, research and development and adaptability all contribute to the overall perception of a company or place.

This is why Yellowfox and iCandi, the companies behind The Annex at 49, chose to work with some of New Zealand's premier organisations on the fit-out of the Annex offices and studios – among them, Resene.

"For more than 60 years, Resene has forged a reputation of excellence in manufacturing quality, durable and innovative products with strong and exciting colours to meet their customers' needs," says Shelley Brockliss, manager of Yellowfox.

"Resene's products include a comprehensive range of paint and specialist coatings for the commercial and residential sectors. This is backed by an equally exhaustive variety of reference materials and services."

For The Annex at 49, Brockliss and team chose a base palette of Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream from The Range ‘Whites & Neutrals' for the ceiling, walls and trim. This was augmented by colours from the latest Resene The Range 2011/2012 of Spotlight, Koru, Rock 'n' Roll and Pukeko. Blast Grey, from the Resene Metallics and Special Effects range, was used to give an industrial feel to the iron cross bar.

For an innovative added twist, in the meeting rooms and studio spaces the Resene Spotlight yellow accents were given a coating of Resene Write-on Wall paint, effectively turning them into whiteboard surfaces.

"Resene is renowned for its environmentally friendly stance, with an extensive range of Environmental Choice-approved products," says Brockliss. "Environmental Choice-approved Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel was used to provide a premium finish and ensure long-term durability."

The painted finish is complemented by noteworthywallpapers from the Resene Walltrends Collection by Vision Wallcoverings and also the Skin, Glamour and Neo collections.

"Vision Wallcoverings are to the fore of colour and design, making them highly desirable. Of course, the paint and wallpaper being designed and manufactured in New Zealand is a definite plus, as the options available truly match the Kiwi way of life," says Brockliss.

The first mosaics were created in Ancient Greece from natural pebbles. Today, modern technologies and advanced design and manufacturing processes mean we have the ability to design mosaic creations from a variety of materials with ease – like the mirrored mosaic tiles selected for The Annex at 49.

"The mosaic feature wall is a contemporary take on an age-old art," says Shelley Brockliss of Yellowfox. "It is something both instantly recognisable and yet unexpected at the same time."

Supplied by Tile Warehouse, the mirror tiles are a small portion of the extensive range of mosaic tiles on offer, including glass, porcelain, ceramic and natural stone mosaics.

"Alongside the tile selections is a broad range of natural and engineered stones, available in slab form for benchtops," says Brockliss.

Tile Warehouse marketing and imports manager Michelle Bain says, "Tile and stone offer cost-effective, low-maintenance and hygienic surfaces, making them a popular choice throughout New Zealand homes.

"Every Tile Warehouse product is guaranteed first quality, and our knowledgeable staff are happy to assist you in making an informed decision to enhance your home now and for the future."

First published date: 31 August 2010

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