“I’m passionate about people and connections, places and spaces.”
GARY WHITTAKER ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR garyw@ignitearchitects.com

The ‘comfort’ factor is key in retail design.

Retail designers must have an implicit understanding of scale. As retail centres become increasingly vast, our designs must ensure consumers feel like they are in a familiar, welcoming and cocooning environment.

Large format retail developments are increasingly invested in their communities, helping people to connect and interact with each other. Their focus goes well beyond the bottom line.

My role at Ignite feels like I’ve come full circle. I spent two years with the team from 2000 on various retail projects. I then worked across Westfield’s New Zealand retail portfolio where I had strong involvement with all their flagship retail developments, including Westfield Newmarket, Westfield Albany, Westfield Riccarton and Westfield Manukau.

The impact of the Internet and online shopping has meant that retail spaces have evolved. Dining precincts, cinemas and playgrounds are now commonplace. We’re also seeing a move from an enclosed shopping centre design to creating the idea of an outdoor environment.

I’m passionate about people and connections, places and spaces. I’ve been fortunate to work with many inspiring people, and passing that mantle on through mentoring is something I really enjoy. Time out for me is being with my family and entertaining my grandchildren. I also enjoy swimming, reading, or being somewhere outdoors.