MediaWorks Offices – Auckland

  • Client MediaWorks,
  • size 48,438 sqft
  • Year 2020
  • Location Auckland, New Zealand,
  • Industry Film / Media / Publishing,
  • Warren & Mahoney was tasked with the design of the MediaWorks offices, a division of Discovery, Inc., located in Auckland, New Zealand.

    MediaWorks leased 4500m2 in an undeveloped warehouse to be converted to house their eight radio brands together for the first time. Previously spread across four locations, the new site was to provide the opportunity for Mediaworks people to characterise their workplace over time – repositioning the soul of the business, amplified by the environment and culture.

    The building, a 1970’s storage warehouse, provided a non-corporate and esoteric appeal Mediaworks were searching for to support 16 brand new studios, 400+ workplace staff and state-of-the-art technical infrastructure to unify their broadcast performance and migration to live brand content enabled through video recording.

    The interior is transformed into a ground floor and mezzanine level layout with spaces creating ‘hoods’ that use the architecture of the broadcasting studio suites as bumpers between brands, building a cityscape which presents like an urban masterplan. The suites are paired or stacked with each neighbour tribe characterised with feature wall cladding treatment or imagery which references sound, a visual manifestation of auditory sensation that creates perpetual energy and drama.

    The fit-out looks as much to the past as the future, inspired by music as a soulful medium that brings people together and reflects a nostalgic love for old and new. The journey of sensation begins in reception and pulses through the fitout where the predominately concrete and steel aesthetic is contrasted by soft absorptive materials, retro timbers and finishes and joinery that take their expression from music – a futuristic speaker bar as reception desk while the hub kitchen is a vintage mid-century record player. A generous boldly coloured external pavilion allows MediaWorks to play host to large industry events with grandstand seating, planting features and space for outdoor celebrations and festivity.

    To amplify the rebel spirt of MW and provocative character of the design, we partnered with Autex to design bespoke feature wall treatments; three abstract expressions of sound – Anechoic (mustard), Noise (crimson) and Beats (khaki). The acoustic material, ideal for providing high-performance sound absorption was custom tinted with ‘retro’ colours and lent itself to fabrication as flat patterns – crafted to fold like origami to create distinct shapes with little wastage. Raw exposed galvanised steel and warm natural timber pairs to create a language of technical precision and soulful comfort. Exposed services, steel framed walls, timbers and retro styled partitioning re-energise the experience of sentimentality – transforming a once shy warehouse into the physical and metaphorical ‘amplifier’ of New Zealand broadcasting.

    Crucial to the fit-outs functionality are the studio suite requirements. With the migration to video-radio, the design focusses on the optimal layout first to achieve video recording, with acoustic and production support packaged around it. The construction detailing and treatment within are intentionally light in colour with adapted infrastructure and integrated lighting enabling the tailoring of brand preferences. In partnership with Tim Webber Design, 16 custom studio desks were designed and prototyped to achieve an ultra-refined furniture system – the focal point in the new studio environment which can be replicated across other studios, and adapted as MW evolve.

    Design: Warren & Mahoney
    Photography: Sam Hartnett