Our clients wanted Hayama’s Airside outlet to reflect the delivery and branding of the other natural looking restaurants throughout Auckland International airport. The airports own Design Team insisted that once travellers passed through customs and were effectively “on holiday”, and that the dining experience should be quite different so travellers were more likely to relax, grab something to drink and have a less rushed dining experience. The tenancy presented a number of challenges as there was really only one solid wall, which was to the rear of the site where the commercial kitchen was to be placed.

Space was extremely limited, so we chose to only add high level, freestanding, communal tables to minimise the seating area and allow customers somewhere to put their wheelie bags while dining. In addition, we created some dining height seating around the column with an authentic Japanese feel created by the use of hanging cushions and a traditional Japanese teapot display above. We used scalloped tiles on the columns and elsewhere in the tenancy as a nod towards the predominant use of seafood in the menu. The site was very hard to identify from a distance without any exterior walls, so we persuaded the airport to allow us to add signage onto the front of an existing column, although they insisted that this could not actually touch the column apart from some minimal fixings.

Due to the extremely small size of the site relative to the amount of food preparation necessary, some of the kitchen facilities are shared with the adjacent Halong Bay tenancy, while the low wall space itself was treated differently on both sides to reflect the subtle differentiation between the two stores while still allowing transparency from one side to the other.
The result has been very well received and is extremely popular with diners. The Auckland international Airport landlords were so pleased with it that they entered it in to an international design competition for airport retail.

Photography by Sampford Cathie.

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