Ignite Architects 5 studio pasifika Hokohoko Museum Store

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Richard Voss
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Nathan Carey
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Sam Castle, Phaedra Applin
  • Client
    Auckland War Memorial Museum

Situated within Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Te Ao Mārama (south atrium), the Hokohoko Museum Store shares the story of transformation and adaptation, conveying Aotearoa New Zealand’s evolving culture.

The store offers 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.

Many of the products sold within the store have a story, and the design supports this storytelling aspect of the merchandise. Ignite collaborated with furniture maker, sculptor, and design educator Carin Wilson to develop this cultural narrative.

The space is uniquely ‘of New Zealand’ and uses locally sourced materials wherever possible. 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. These textures represent Aotearoa’s ever-changing landscapes. Recycled rimu cabinets and modern acrylic cabinets were custom-made to juxtapose the old with the new. The stepped poutama pattern seen on the timber wall panels symbolises the various levels of learning and intellectual achievement within Māori culture.

The rendered walls of mineral plaster represent layers of time and historical progression, speaking to the museum’s evolution over time. With its sophisticated wall-hanging solution, the art display wall is a key design feature. The highly flexible yet unobtrusive display allows the focus to be on the beautifully hand-crafted products.

Heritage windows along the main wall have been amplified, with hand-stitched leather window seats providing cosy alcoves for visitors to rest a moment. The hand stitching highlights Aoteoroa’s Māori and Pacific craftsmanship.

Creating a flexible space was at the forefront of the design; the displays are agile and adaptable to respond to shifting customer interests and product turnover. 90% of the fit-out was constructed off-site and assembled on-site. This helped reduce construction and energy waste, while adding an authentic storytelling element to the design. Bespoke joinery and cabinetry echo a similar design language to the stock displayed within the store.

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.