Our long-standing clients, Kiwi Discovery Ltd, approached us to do a new freestanding store in Auckland International Airport‘s landslide farewell zone – more commonly known as the food court. The 85 square metre site needed to not only act as a sushi store, but also a large commercial kitchen in which the majority of the Hayama food is made to service a number of the chain’s outlets throughout the airport complex. This involved installation of some very large commercial range-hood extract equipment into the ceiling space. Our clients wanted us to continue with their previously established finishes palette of light timber and their existing signage and colour scheme to give a contemporary feel but also to reflect nature of their natural and traditional Japanese products on offer.

The site itself was especially difficult as, in addition to being very small for the kitchen and refrigeration equipment required, there were very few of the necessary services on site due to the fact it was previously a coffee kiosk. We had to include a significant amount of plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems into the tenancy, none of which could be supported from the ceiling. To do this, we had to effectively build a small building within the tenancy to house all of the plant. We also wanted to hide the large bulk of the commercial kitchen so that the building would not appear to be a solid block. We did so by wrapping the food offer around the corner and creating some openings into the kitchen and the sushi preparation space so that the process of on-site sushi making was visible and could be appreciated by customers in the food court.

We broke up the bulk of the space by using some large graphic panels, including an illuminated overhead sign, on which we created a traditional Japanese cherry blossom-patterned panelling to balance against the natural Ash timber used elsewhere. TV screen menus and traditional Japanese teapot displays were added to further break up the solid walls and add interest to surfaces which would otherwise be plain, considering that all the products are displayed in refrigerated wells in the counter. The high positioning of the branding enables customers to identity of the kiosk across a very crowded food court. We chose warm-coloured lighting and graphic tones to also enhance the natural timber finishes.

Photography by Sampford Cathie.

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