Manifold Manifold

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Graham Nelson, Brendon Chamberlain
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Shane Burwell, Wayne Kennedy

We are a vibrant, community driven coworking space with a focus on providing inclusive spaces that promote productivity and collaboration.

After 7 years of observing how people use shared workspaces in a charming yet tired building, we had lots of ideas on how we could improve the user experience and design a space that better reflected our brand and location. It was time to find and fit out a new home for our coworkers. We wanted something that represented a blank canvas, somewhere that would allow us to design spaces that are more flexible and conducive to the ways we work today.

We set out to intentionally design for different types of work, from playful group work, to focused individual work.

Our new home? A vacant, old iconic newspaper building. The building was inherently industrial which fitted snugly with the brand. Its square footprint with strong structural columns spread evenly throughout represented a maths grid from which we could create the spaces and zones we knew we needed for a successful coworking environment - collaboration zones, focus areas, social areas as well as open-plan coworking and private offices.

It was vital that the new space felt grounded in its surroundings so we began by taking a look at our rugged, wild coast line. Pulling together moodboards from trips to the beach at various times of the day which ultimately became a compass for every design decision we made. Our colour palette contrasts the moody Tasman Seas with vibrant west coast sunsets. We carefully chose materials such as native raw and burnt timber - a nod to driftwood and beach campfires and installed rich, dense foliage that captures the bush that hugs the coast. And we left concrete exposed, chips'n'all to help tell the story of the building.

However, through the design process, we found that raw metal (which can change and age over time), expressed the environment, the brand and the history of the building best. It became a theme for us. We used mesh frames for special delineation, for our street sign, for lobby furniture and even for notice boards. We used C-Section for desk cable management, and sheet metal for the reception desk. All fabricated locally.

Considering flexibility, we installed a garage door between meeting rooms which allows us to quickly change space for events and workshops. We use modular, playful box furniture in our collaboration spaces, and have added large stacker doors which open to the street below, allowing fresh air and thinking into the space giving an outdoor courtyard-esque feel to the workspace.

In true coworking spirit, we worked closely with our members, collaborating in particular with Brendon Chamberlain from AO Design Company. Brendon helped us with all aspects of the space, but specifically with the lobby area which had many challenges; it needed to provide seating, wayfinding and offer privacy to the bathrooms, as well as make a welcoming statement. It successfully sets the scene for the entire experience.