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Emirates Leisure Retail | April 2019 | Hospitality | Detailed Design & Specification
In partnership with Emirates Leisure Retail , greater group worked with Wondertree and their custodian designers, Harrison, to roll out their Auckland Airport restaurant, the brand’s first outpost in the southern hemisphere.
Just like its name, Wondertree ‘s interior is inspired by nature, a concept that complements New Zealand’s stunning landscapes, creating an inviting space for travellers. greater group was tasked to bring this vision to life by providing detailed documentation and procuring for local finishes and furnishing, transforming the space into a series of dining areas, where guests can grab a breakfast on the go, stop in for lunch or enjoy a drink at the bar.
Set in the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand, Wondertree Auckland aspires to “help every traveller start their journey feeling good”. Based on the Wondertree design concept by Harrison, greater group ensured the interpretation reflected a sense of outdoors with engaging elements to create a unique dining experience with an atmosphere of being in a lush rainforest. In particular, the open kitchen is the hero of the layout, allowing a theatre-like visual dining experience and grand sightlines out to the airstrip.
Installing a restaurant in a constrained airport environment often poses physical challenges so the combined expertise of Emirates Leisure Retail and experience of greater group in the travel hospitality space ensured that a multitude of customers, all with different needs, are to be catered for.
Special attention had to be paid to providing a range of spaces that would appeal to a variety of travellers: families, big groups, couples, solo travellers or customers who seek a quiet environment to read or get some work done. With no fixtures to the ceiling allowed, greater group had to come up with an alternative to the original design containing a ceiling feature to mimic the natural light formation of forest canopies, by ‘building from the ground up’
The separate bar and kitchen provided customers with two clearly divided areas. One which is inviting to families where the long bench seating with tables is better suited for families and larger groups while the separate bar area with high tables is an ideal space for solo travellers to recharge and relax.
The restaurant also features a mixture of different types of furniture, like 4-person booths with a view over the airstrip, solo booths along the lease line providing sightlines of the FID’s, and mid-height stool seating around the open kitchen for customers who want to watch the theatre in the kitchen. All of the fixed furniture has electrical outlets to allow customers to charge their device.
In addition, many of the visual elements in the restaurant appear as purposefully designed statement pieces, but they double up as concealment to items that are mandatory to the restaurant’s setup.
The living green wall placed strategically between the 2 kitchens reinforced the nature concept and added fresh colours while ensuring the seismic joint within the tenancy was concealed
Wondertree is nominated as a finalist in the Polytec Design Awards 2019 in the “Retail & Hospitality” category for its excellence in detailed design and specification. Part of the UK-based Boparan Restaurant Group, Wondertree offers an all-day global food dining experience where travellers can stop, recharge and soak up a sense of wellbeing. This family-friendly all-day casual dining and cafe concept also has 2 outlets in London Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. In addition, Wondertree, is also of three F&B establishments in Auckland Airport in partnership with Emirates Leisure Retail , alongside Aroha Café and Bar, a casual café offering a fusion of classic favourites and on-trend healthy options and Vantage Bar, a modern sports bar.
“greater group did a fantastic job in taking Harrison’s concept design and developing it into detailed documentation and specification to local FFE. The site constraints we had to deal with – aligning with the under slab structures, the seismic joints, and no fixing allowed to the ceiling – could have put the overall vision we had for the Wondertree concept at risk, yet all of these items smoothly fall into the background, resulting in a simple and stunning final design.”