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Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport
by Space Studio Ltd

Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport

by Space Studio Ltd

Shortlisted: Hotel Design - Asia Pacific Award

The International Hotel & Property Awards 2024

The International Hotel & Property Awards 2024

Space Studio Ltd, the design firm behind the Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport, embarked on a distinctive journey to seamlessly merge indigenous Maori culture with contemporary architectural design. In collaboration with Auckland Airport and the Tainui iwi, the design brief was multi-dimensional, aiming to embody both the rich cultural heritage of the Tainui tribe and the renowned brand standards of a Pullman hotel.

The hotel, strategically situated on the Manukau Harbour at Auckland Airport, was envisioned as an international standard accommodation hub catering to travellers transiting through the bustling airport, a central hub for the wider Pacific region. With a mandate to provide a five-star experience, the hotel sought to establish itself as a destination for dining and entertainment within the airport precinct.

Named in honour of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen, the hotel’s design reflects the profound significance of its title. From its distinctive three-pointed shape to the incorporation of Tainui-inspired designs, the hotel was tasked with embodying the mana of the name it was given.

Space Studio worked closely with the Tainui master carver. A series of carved designs were received and then integrated into the fit- out.  The carvings that reflect the genealogy of Tainui and how they are represented in the star constellations known as Matariki are incorporated into the guestroom entry portals. The triangular detailed pattern of the Tainui iwi (tribe), referred to as niho taniwha is woven through the design of the fit-out – lift faces, minibar elements and desk panels creating an integrated touchpoint for the guest.

The location of this hotel on the isthmus of Auckland is a significant geological area where early Maori landed and were able to traverse the land taking their waka (sea going vessels) from the west to the east coast. As such it has always been a landing point. Now, the hotel, with it views of the NZ harbour, offers travellers a place to ‘land’, feel grounded, rest before being transient again.

Space Studio’s ingenuity extends to a bespoke light feature evoking flight paths, symbolising the transient nature of travel. The restaurant and bar on the top floor of the hotel, overlooks the runways and the adjacent Manukau harbour. Named Te Kaahu (Maori for Hawk), the gull wing ceilings rise to the perimeter of the space encompassing the view of sea to sky.

Location: Auckland International Airport

Architect: Warren and Mahoney

Interior Design: Space Studio Ltd & Warren and Mahoney

Hotel Group: Tainui Group Holdings Limited, Auckland International Airport Ltd, Accor

Construction: Dominion Construction

Photography: Simon Devitt and Tessa Chrisp

Space Studio Ltd has been shortlisted for Hotel Design – Asia Pacific Award in The International Hotel & Property Awards 2024.

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