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Establishing an aura of constancy is paramount to continued business success. For Deloitte this wasn't at the expense of providing a pleasant working environment

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You don't earn a ‘big four' designation in any business without first earning a reputation for integrity, dependability and acuity. For professional services firm Deloitte, establishing a new centre of operations was akin to making manifest that reputation.

The Deloitte Centre needed to impart the very values that drive the organisation, says chief operating officer Sophia Gunn.

"Deloitte is an innovative organisation. We made decisions about our workplace to accelerate and reinforce our difference in the marketplace, and reflect an organisation that is a leader."

"Our environment must be iconic and must inspire and enable our people to challenge assumptions and create better ways to connect with our clients and one another," says Gunn.

Connection was the theme that consultant Geyer Wellington chose to reference when employed on a strategic basis at the beginning of the evaluation process, says regional leader Neil Christopher.

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"Connecting with their people and clients, as well as the city itself, was important to Deloitte and informed our initial design response and the entire design phase of the project."

"Obviously there is a worldwide connection – with the Deloitte global network – but there is also a metaphoric connection that is referenced by the site itself.

"The building stands at a convergence of the original shoreline and a river that ran to the ocean, and we felt this was a good, strong metaphor – water from the heartland of New Zealand running to the ocean and beyond," says Christopher.

This motif was expanded upon to include all of the elemental stages of water – solid, liquid, gas – and then used throughout the building to thematically reinforce those related stages within business. The state of being solid equates to dependability, liquid to a free-flowing exchange of ideas, and gas to the similarly ethereal conveyance of information via the internet.

Building upon a solid foundation that begins in the lobby of the building, the design employs a restricted colour and material palette, says Christopher.

"We have intentionally gone against current design thinking, which is largely about colour and movement, to provide a more refined aesthetic. This creates a continuity across the floors that can be punctuated with elements such as shadow-line detailing and graphics to convey dynamism."

The foremost consideration was to create no obvious difference between the client areas of the offices and the working areas.

"The same attention to detail had to be immediately discernible, whether a part of the formal spaces or the more relaxed areas," says Christopher.

In the informal spaces, graphic elements replace shadow lines and reference the water theme, but also underpin another intrinsic design element – flexibility.

Through an in-depth refining process, a workstation and storage system was devised that would provide each service line with a configuration best suited to its work practices.

"An innovative approach to the workspace has allowed us to provide continuity of aesthetic and style across the floors, but a solution tailored to the specific needs of individuals, teams, business lines and functions," says Christopher. "What was important to Deloitte was that the workstations respond to the way people work, collaborate and learn."

Floor plates also offer flexibility, punctuated with hubs where groups can meet in an informal setting to discuss business or to socialise.

"We've encouraged a free flow of discourse and information across the firm, backed up by clever design," says Christopher. "Ample natural light provides a pleasant work environment, individualised workstations promote productivity, and a refined palette reinforces the qualities of stability and responsibility that Deloitte's clients expect of a company that has reached the pinnacle of business."

First published date: 17 March 2010

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Credit List

Location Deloitte Centre, Auckland
Developer Brookfield Multiplex
Designers Geyer; Warren and Mahoney
Main contractor Brookfield Multiplex Construction
Services engineer Beca
Project manager Wareham Cameron + Co
Quantity surveyor Davis Langdon
Fire engineer Holmes Consulting
Acoustic consultant Marshall Day Acoustics
Kitchen fit-out Wildfire Commercial Kitchens & Bars
Audiovisual Connect AV
Graphics Rocket
Workstations Vidak
Task chairs Formway
Boardroom and seminar tables Wilkhahn
Video conference and meeting tables Cite
Boardroom and client chairs Matisse
Carpet Tascot Carpets
Furniture ECC; Kada; Simon James Design; Thonet; UFL