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Business Growth found in Offshore and Refurbishment Sectors

Leading Design Firm Space Studio Finds Business Growth in Offshore and Refurbishment Sectors

The decline in local construction projects over the past two years has not affected one New Zealand design and procurement firm, which has enjoyed substantial business growth by pursuing a dual focus on the refurbishment sector and on the offshore market, the latter of which currently constitutes 80% of its client base.

Space Studio director Vee Smit says the key to success in a recessionary environment has been diversification within areas where investment is being made. “There has been little new funding for major projects in New Zealand, but large hotel chains have been investing refurbishing existing properties and require design, implementation and procurement services.

Additionally, she says the offshore focus of her business is partly in response to the substantial international marketing campaigns undertaken by the tourism departments of Fiji and Samoa, and commercial expansion in Papua New Guinea. “Governments are investing, and big hotel chains are able to enter these areas and leverage this marketing to a global audience – so there is a ever-growing market for design, refurbishment and procurement services as visitor numbers increase.

“We are completing the refurbishments of a large hotel chain, Coral Sea Hotels in Papua New Guinea, and are working on a large-scale, five-star, $90million hotel project in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to open in July. There are no existing properties of this quality, so it will set a new standard in PNG.”

As a result of its diversification strategy, the company has developed a broad client base during its six years of operation, ranging from small to large hotels, motels, aged-care facilities, retail stores and commercial offices. One current project is for the Waipareira Trust, refurbishing a West Auckland facility which will be funded and run under the Government’s Whanau Ora programme. Another significant project it is undertaking is a full building refurbishment for Procare Health Ltd in central Auckland, currently in progress.

And recently completed is the Lauriston Park Retirement Village in Cambridge, conceived to take a fresh approach and be a more contemporary offering for the aged-care market.

Meanwhile, Space Studio has established a solid clientele in the retail sector, including 3 Wise Men, for which they designed the Sydney clothing store, and Bendon Lingerie and its stores in New Zealand, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

And today’s communications mean it is straightforward to run an Asia Pacific business out of Parnell, with Ms Smit saying that while face-to-face communication remains vitally important, projects can be managed remotely by phone and email.

The procurement side of the business, Space Procurement, has grown organically out of Space Studio’s design services. Ms Smit says the procurement service is driven by clients’ need for specialist scheduling, budgeting and tendering: “The DIY model, where clients handle sourcing, logistic, freight and so on themselves, simply doesn’t work – and we work with a variety of established suppliers, so quality and continuity of supply, which is especially important for accommodation providers, is not an issue.”


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