Situated within Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Te Ao Mārama South Atrium, the new museum store plays a vital role in sharing the story of transformation and adaption, conveying Aotearoa New Zealand’s rapidly evolving culture. The store acts as an extension to the museum displays, allowing the public to engage with staff and learn about the background and history of the products they are purchasing. The store is all-inclusive and designed to cater for young and old, as well as local and international visitors.
The design team ensured certain heritage fixtures would not be impacted during the renovations; the design outcomes conform to and complement the existing space.
“The materials communicate the idea of change: presenting layers of time, contrasting textures to convey progression, and storytelling through the adaptation of materials.”
As part of Auckland War Memorial Museum’s vision to create a space for visitors near and far to enjoy, the recent renovation of the Museum’s south atrium has been strongly influenced by cultural and historical narratives.
The result is an exceptional retail environment that has a strong cultural connection, is respectful of its historic setting, and delivers a world-class retail experience.
As a functioning retail store set within a museum environment, finding a balance between storytelling and selling products was at the forefront of the design. While being sensitive to the building’s heritage, the displays are agile and adaptable to respond to shifting customer interests and product turnover.
Locally sourced materials are used wherever possible to convey the uniquely ‘of New Zealand’ message. Ignite collaborated with furniture maker, sculptor, and design educator Carin Wilson to further develop this cultural narrative.
All timber is recycled native rimu sourced from locally demolished houses, while the panels in the window seats are hand-carved using traditional techniques similar to those used in boat building and mask making. Recycled rimu cabinets and modern Hi-Macs acrylic cabinets were custom-made to juxtapose the old with the new.
Heritage windows are amplified with hand-stitched leather seats and, behind the art displays, rendered plaster walls convey the museum’s layers of history. The bespoke joinery and cabinetry echo a similar design language to the stock displayed within the store.