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Scoop Images: Five Star Lobby Expresses Pacific

Media Release
3 November 2000

Five Star Lobby a Cultural Expression of the Pacific

A space that mixes indulgence with home and nostalgia and is uniquely New Zealand – that’s the feeling prominent architect Noel Lane wanted to evoke in the lobby of Kiwi Development Trust’s landmark Royal & SunAlliance Centre.

The lobby is a showcase of creativity, with a sumptuous expression of the best of New Zealand art by celebrated contemporary sculptors, artists and crafts people.

Kiwi Development Trust has spent over $1 million on artwork for the lobby of this building, in return gaining important Resource Management credits through Council, allowing it to increase the size of its floors.

“We gained more area by investing in art, but we wanted to invest anyway,” says Managing Director of Kiwi Development Trust Richard Didsbury. “In effect, we’ve created a lobby space that’s a new public art gallery for New Zealand. It’s a cultural emblem that we think will last for a century or more, such is the prestige of the building.”

The huge lobby is designed to challenge city dwellers’ preconceptions of an office building entrance. From the Shortland Street entrance – with its 11 metre high ceiling, touched by the Andrew Drummond sculpture – through to the serpentine glass walls of the upper porte cochere entrance, with natural light flooding in, the lobby is gigantic and homely, public and private.

“It’s a cultural feast wherever you look,” says Mr Didsbury.

In the lower Shortland Street entrance, a “Wall of Words” features 70 phrases and quotes from New Zealanders, expressing their feelings about their country. Some of the quotes are from offshore – the outsiders view of the country and its people.

Adjacent to the Wall of Words, an 8.5 mammoth, rotating wheel – “Assignation Device” - designed by Cantabrian Andrew Drummond, turns. Up the escalators, Gretchen Albrecht’s largest work to date is on display.

tower art....2

A giant, intense scarlet oval painting, it is called “Pohutukawa – Cicadas’ Song 1999”. Near by, Elizabeth Thomson’s huge, but delicate blown glass sculpture of pods like primal forest floor life forms, (“First Forests”) sits. Jacqueline Fraser’s “Tamaki Makaurau”, which depicts the thousand lovers of the Auckland isthmus, is near the café.

Outside, Peter Roche’s compelling blue neon sculpture “Coral” an 8 metre diameter, 7.5 tonne work, clings to a neighbouring building and overlooks the outdoor courtyard to the Royal & SunAlliance Centre. Also outside, Ralph Hotere’s largest work to date (in collaboration with Bill Culbert) “Black Stump” presents a daunting, reflective 20 metre black façade, dotted with small light holes to represent the Southern Sky.

Inside the building, the lobby is designed as a space to work, relax and spend time in.

“It’s not a freeway to the lifts,” says architect Noel Lane. “I wanted it to reference like a domestic living room. I also wanted the technology, intellect and resource that is present in the building to be reflected. In addition, it was important to capture the idea of individuals in a building coming together as teams – and the colour of that interaction, the fact it’s not monochromatic.”

Much of the furniture has been designed specifically for the space by Lane. A key motif is a fernleaf design sandblasted onto glass surfaces on the canopies, glass coffee tables, three metre monolithic lamps and in the lifts.

Marble in deep jade green, earth toned limestone and basalts are used inside and out. Leather furniture, Australian hardwood flooring is used extensively as are pure wool, individually woven scatter rugs designed by contemporary painters such as Richard Killeen, Gavin Chilcott and John Reynolds.

“The vista is rich and varied,” says Mr Lane.

“We were both passionate about creating a space that speaks about New Zealand creativity and is of and for New Zealanders,” says Mr Didsbury. “It was natural to choose kiwi culture to express that.”

Along with the major artworks, Kiwi Development Trust has purchased applied art from New Zealand’s leading crafts people. Leading hot glass maker Garry Nash has contributed two vases; master ceramicist Len Castle has provided two enigmatic pieces; and celebrated ceramicist Raewyn Atkinson has created two pieces, one an ecological statement.
tower art.....3

Maori applied art and carving is represented by Tim Codyre, Des Mohi and Neil Land. There are also works from Layla Walters, John Parker, and John Ecuyer.


For more information, please contact:
Richard Didsbury
Managing Director
Kiwi Development Trust
Phone (09) 357-9322


Catherine Peters
PRaxis Public Relations Limited
Phone (09) 373-5068
Or (025) 748-273

© Scoop Media

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