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Fisher & Paykel opens new Auckland Design Centre

5 August 2014

Fisher & Paykel entrenches product development in NZ with new Auckland Design Centre

A cornerstone in Fisher & Paykel Appliances’ ongoing expansion plan is in place with the official opening of its new Design Centre for Product Development at the company’s Auckland headquarters.

A ‘hothouse’ for innovation in product development, the state-of-the-art Centre is dedicated entirely to fostering the company’s research and development capabilities. It will cater to a fast-growing team of NZ-based product developers, designers and engineers and includes a full suite of quality and standards testing labs.

“This new Centre underlines Fisher & Paykel’s long-term commitment to research and development in New Zealand, and solidifies our position as one of five Centres of Excellence for global product innovation for the Haier Group,” said Chairman Dr Keith Turner on opening the facility today.

At 5000m2 the building is one of the largest single office footprints in the country and has capacity to house upwards of 400 employees. Development of a second design facility in Dunedin is also well underway and expected to be fully up and running in November.

Coinciding with the pioneering company’s 80th year, the milestone opening follows an extremely successful period of expansion for Fisher & Paykel and demonstrates a new and exciting phase for the company.

“The phenomenal growth we have achieved in recent years has been made possible by our parent company Haier’s continued support of the Fisher & Paykel brand and our vision to be the world’s leading premium appliance company. The relationship continues to go from strength to strength, benefiting the Fisher & Paykel brand in both New Zealand and globally.

“We are actively entrenching New Zealand as Fisher & Paykel’s research and development hub, and strengthening our foundation for leadership in the market.

“Just 18 months on from first announcing expansion plans, we have already recruited more than 80 new roles into Auckland and Dunedin. As of today we have more than 40 vacancies to fill and will continue to grow these essential teams across both centres.

“With this increased investment, consumers will continue to see more new, thoughtfully-crafted appliances in the years ahead, building on the extremely successful roll-out of 70 new products last year.”

The recently released products are proving popular across key markets, with many exceeding expectations and attracting praise from the international design community. Highlights include the new wall oven and Touch & Side Induction Cooktop winning the prestigious global design award known as ‘Red Dot’ in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Dr Turner said the company continued to focus on developing the Fisher & Paykel brand in New Zealand, Australia and North America, while boosting its presence in the emerging markets of China and India.

The new Auckland Design Centre - A ‘hothouse’ for innovation
Natural light, shared spaces, flexible project ‘pods’ and arguably the best office kitchen in the country - every detail of the new architecturally-designed Centre was carefully considered to create the best possible environment for design and innovation.

“As demand for our product design capability continues to increase both within Fisher & Paykel and the wider Haier Group, it became clear that we needed to create facilities that would accommodate a growing team now and into the future,” said Dr Turner. “We also needed spaces that inspire and complement our teams, and position Fisher & Paykel to retain and attract the best-of-the-best talent.”

Fisher & Paykel’s own senior strategic and design team used their professional expertise to craft a design framework and joined with Custance Architects to translate their ideas into a workable space.

Mirroring the company’s unique, human-centred approach to product development, the layout is focused on strengthening engagement and communication within and across teams. It is open, agile and flexible, helping to break down functional siloes and bring more productive project teams together.

At the Centre’s heart is the Social Kitchen – more than a place where food is prepared, it is a social hub and provides a touchpoint for the designers, engineers and evaluators that use the products daily.

“Fisher & Paykel recognises the kitchen as a site of sociability, collaboration and creativity. It signifies our shift from focusing solely on products, to focusing on the people who use them. This focus sets us apart from our competitors.”

The removal of traditional phones, the injection of natural light through specially-crafted skylights and a neutral pallet accentuated by pops of colour ensure the busy former electronics factory is also a calm and productive place to work. Informal break out areas offer a place for blue-sky thinking.

‘Project pods’ distributed throughout provide dedicated spaces for project teams that are flexible and reconfigurable, with furniture, displays and technology that can transform from a work room to a conference room in minutes. Just across the way, laboratories and model shops can be seen, where designs are brought to life.

“We are confident that co-locating our design, engineers and evaluators together in one shared space will reap huge benefits, fostering a product development cultural that will enable us to continue to develop world-leading appliances.”

ENDS

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