For the text generation

Where X meets Y the vibrant fit-out of the new Yahoo!Xtra office in Auckland reflects the youthful focus of the company's latest branding campaign
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
Colourful graphics of the latest advertising campaign reinforce apartment, architecture, ceiling, countertop, floor, house, interior design, kitchen, living room, table, white
Colourful graphics of the latest advertising campaign reinforce the corporate branding.

The merger of two well-known internet service providers, each with its own strong identity, presented an opportunity for a whole new branding exercise for Yahoo!Xtra. And it wasn't just a full-on multimedia advertising campaign the company also commissioned the fit-out of a new Auckland office in Parnell.

The office, in the historic Heards Building, needed to reinforce the ad campaign's "where X meets Y" strap-line, which is a reference to both the company name, and the X- and Y-generation niche market.

Designer Mia Feasey of Siren Design in Sydney says it was also essential that the space reflected the young, vibrant culture of Yahoo!Xtra.

"To this end, the design had to be contemporary something a little different and unexpected. We wanted to highlight the innovative, dynamic nature of a progressive infotech company."

Feasey says the Heards Building the site of a former sweet factory not only presented an appealing location; its thick concrete walls and beams also provided a sense of substance.

"While the company is young and energetic, the building itself has a very solid, grounded base. The heritage aspect is also a good counterbalance."


Contrasting textures enliven the recpetion area of the apartment, ceiling, floor, interior design, lobby, property, real estate, gray
Contrasting textures enliven the recpetion area of the new Yahoo! xtra offices in the historic Heards Building in Parnell, Auckland.

Feasey says the new light-filled atrium in the centre of the building was another drawcard. It meant the design team could create a more transparent office, and use the building's circulation spaces to best advantage.

"Yahoo management is not committed to rolling out the same corporate look for all its offices," says Feasey. "The company treats each office as an individual group of people, creating an environment that works for both the employees and the location."

The corporate branding has not been completely disregarded, however. In some places it is a vibrant splash of red, or an X-shaped light fixture that is a subtle reminder of the company culture.

The reception area has a sleek, streamlined look, enhanced by a mirrored reception counter and contemporary furniture.

"We wanted to ensure a visit to the Yahoo!Xtra office would be an experience something that people would remember," says the designer. "We deliberately chose very simple, clever furniture pieces, which were mostly sourced locally. As well as being an eco option, this also provides shorter lead times."

To balance the cool look of the furniture and the reception counter, a floating timber floor in a warm chocolate tone was specified. Feasey also introduced a thick-pile, chocolate-brown rug.

Casual meeting areas beside the void can also apartment, architecture, ceiling, floor, furniture, house, interior design, living room, lobby, real estate, room, table, gray, brown
Casual meeting areas beside the void can also be used as staff breakout zones.

"This is a somewhat surprising element one that brings a strong textural contrast to the sleek finishes. The rug and the furniture are reflected in the mirrored counter, which provides a different view from every angle. The play of light also varies."

Casual meeting areas, which can double as breakout areas for staff, are positioned overlooking the void. Textural elements are much in evidence here as well. And although the furniture is very contemporary, the curves of the armless chairs help to soften the look.

The cafe is another multifunctional space that can be used for casual meetings, or lunch breaks.

"Such multi-use spaces avoid the need for expensive, under-utilised areas," says Feasey. "We also find that providing pleasant facilities for staff encourages respect and pride."

The company culture is reinforced by colourful graphics on the glass walls of the meeting rooms.

"Branding the space is very important. This is a particularly cost-effective way to add personality to the space, and to promote the dynamic nature of the company's business," says Feasey.

Mar 28, 2008

Credit list

Architect
Peter Ashton, Ashton Mitchell Architects
Blinds
Kresta Sheer View and Double View roller blinds
Wallcoverings
Full-height, vinyl graphic wall to Quiet Room,
Reception furniture
Coffee table from Bromhead Design; chairs from Formway Pli; rug from Designer Rugs
Graphic design
Siren Design Group
Interior designer
Mia Feasey, Hana Lee and Micaela Campagna, Siren Design Group
Flooring
Feltex Sutherland Soprano carpet
Lighting
XAL Gear 3 Y-shaped pendant light (reception); Inlite X-shaped, dark crosslight red pendant (breakout area)
Kitchen cabinetry
Laminex Innovations and Laminex Stipple Seal
Signage
Harbour City Signs
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