Ignite is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Whittaker as Associate Director. Gary has worked with some of Australasia’s biggest retail brands, and will add considerable strength to the practice’s specialist retail division.
Gary most recently spent 11 years at Westfield Corporation engaged on projects across their New Zealand portfolio. This includes a key involvement with the company’s flagship retail developments such as Westfield Albany, Westfield Riccarton, and Westfield St Lukes.
Gary’s new role will be his second experience working at Ignite. From 2000, he spent two years in the practice’s retail team (then operating as ASA Crone) engaged on projects for clients including Tower and Kiwi Property.
“We are delighted to welcome Gary back to Ignite,” said Grant Armstrong, Director at Ignite. “He brings with him a wealth of best-in-class retail experience, and his documentation and delivery leadership will be invaluable given the project pipeline we have ahead.”
“We both share a customer-centric design philosophy, and I am personally looking forward to working directly with Gary to continue to nurture and grow our retail team talent in what is a dynamic and fast evolving sector,” added Grant.
Gary believes the ‘comfort factor’ is key in retail design, which requires retail designers to have an implicit understanding of scale. This is particularly important as retail centres become increasingly vast in order to ensure consumers feel like they are in a familiar, welcoming and cocooning environment.
Along with his retail expertise, Gary also spent 18 years involved with residential, small-scale retail and light commercial projects. This included six years running his own practice.
Away from the architecture industry, Gary is passionate about people and connections, places and spaces. He welcomes the opportunity his new role gives him to mentor up-and-coming retail designers.