Placemaking with our Partners: Carin Wilson

We love to tell the stories of our people and our places through design. Placemaking is at the very core of our practice.

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Cairn's ancestry embraces both Māori and European heritage, and he brings a unique cultural and he brings a unique cultural perspective to our projects.

We love to tell the stories of our people and our places through design. Placemaking is at the very core of our practice.
But creating a sense of place can be both profoundly rewarding and unexpectedly challenging. How do you authentically tell the multi-layered cultural, social, and historical stories that make a place meaningful? How do you best take people on a complex narrative journey?  
At Ignite, we do this through the power of collaboration.

One of our design partners is Carin Wilson. He is a master craftsman; a furniture maker, sculptor, and design educator. Carin’s ancestry embraces both Māori and European heritage, and he brings a unique cultural perspective to our projects. Whether it be through words or through wood, Carin’s ability to tell stories is unmatched.

We recently worked with Carin on the development of the new retail store at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. His craftsmanship can be seen throughout the space. Hand-stitched leather window seats amplify the heritage windows, while the hand-carved timber panelling—made from recycled native rimu—feature poutama (a stepped pattern) that symbolises the levels of learning and intellectual achievement within Māori culture.


Ignite Associate and Project Lead Nathan Carey says Carin supported the design team in creating a space that is uniquely ‘of Aotearoa New Zealand’.
“Visitors can see these hand-crafted pieces throughout the design, which tells a story of change and adaptation. These elements add to the store’s overall sense of place and positions the space as an extension of the museum and exhibitions themselves.”


By welcoming specialists and partners into the design conversation, we discover new layers of meaning and cultural narratives. This allows us, as architects, to unlock the potential of each project. We value these collaborative partnerships - it’s what enables us to craft enriching, meaningful spaces that speak to our collective identities.

We recently worked with Carin on the development of the new retail store at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. His craftsmanship can be seen throughout the space. Hand-stitched leather window seats amplify the heritage windows, while the hand-carved timber panelling—made from recycled native rimu—feature poutama (a stepped pattern) that symbolises the levels of learning and intellectual achievement within Māori culture.


Ignite Associate and Project Lead Nathan Carey says Carin supported the design team in creating a space that is uniquely ‘of Aotearoa New Zealand’.
“Visitors can see these hand-crafted pieces throughout the design, which tells a story of change and adaptation. These elements add to the store’s overall sense of place and positions the space as an extension of the museum and exhibitions themselves.”


By welcoming specialists and partners into the design conversation, we discover new layers of meaning and cultural narratives. This allows us, as architects, to unlock the potential of each project. We value these collaborative partnerships - it’s what enables us to craft enriching, meaningful spaces that speak to our collective identities.


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