CTRL Space 34 Hotel Ponsonby

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Chris Stevens
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Sam Griffin
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Summer Bishop, Lauren Marshall
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Hayley Brown – Art Dept, Ash Weeks – Blanc Industries, Rhys Baker - Ecostruction
  • Client
    Hugo Baird

Our client came to us with a leasing agreement for the historical post office building on a corner site on the edge of popular Ponsonby. The site was notorious for being unsuccessful for numerous operators prior to his occupancy. He wanted our input to create a desirable destination to attract locals and visitors from further afield.

Having worked with Hugo before, we knew his strengths as an operator and his eye for style, which were great foundations for enhancing the building’s rich history. With good insight into the existing demographic within Ponsonby and after the success of Lilian in Grey Lynn, we expected that a similar look and feel could be perfect for the site.

We wanted to reflect a sense of history to support the age and exterior of the building. With this in mind, and being aware of a gap in the market, we conceptualised a casual, yet charming pub concept.

Hugo was interested in the 1930s era and, more specifically, in hotel bars, hence the name Hotel Ponsonby. We drew on form, colour and materials from old pubs in the UK and hotel spaces within Australia, curating a balance of a modern atmosphere with old-style character.

It was important to us, that all finishes looked and felt true to the concept, while still being trendy enough for the locals and visitors of the Ponsonby scene. Striking the balance of approachability and style was a large consideration to ensure longevity and popularity.

The back bar is perhaps the strongest reference to a hotel – reminiscent of a classic reception check-in desk. In particular, the rich and grand handcrafted timberwork and rhythmic fluted details in the panelling, glass and tube lighting are distinctive. Other typical, softer, hotel-style features are seen in the dining room are the nostalgic Axminister carpet, traditional wall lights, lush velvet fabric and linen pendants.

Traditional pub gestures like the green vinyl table tops, green leather bench seating and detailed wall panelling saturate the pub area. Clear space separation between the pub and hotel areas reinforces the visually separate zones for casual drinking and table service dining.

It’s safe to say the curse of the site has been lifted and it has become an extremely popular destination.