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Inside One Plus One Communication's brand-spanking new office

Corporate communications agency One Plus One has a fresh new look and a fresh new home in Parnell. We had a chat with managing director Kelly Bennett about the design process behind its new digs, what's changed and what's his favourite feature of the new space. 




What did you want to achieve with the new look of the One Plus One offices?

About 18 months ago, my business partner and I decided to acquire a commercial property that One Plus One could operate out of. We looked everywhere around Grey Lynn, on Queen St, the CBD fringe, and then finally settled on this space in Parnell. It was vacant when we took possession, and a bit of a blank canvas, so we started from scratch and sought to create a ‘West Coast commercial chic’ look. That’s because we first met when we were kids, and holidayed out at Piha together heaps, and now co-own a beach house out there as well. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a ‘look’, but it’s light, the photographs are inspired by the sea, and we’ve got a big mural of Piha on the wall to remind us of where our enduring friendship began.

What’s changed from the old office to the new office?

We were just around the corner in the Saatchi & Saatchi building prior to setting up here. It’s a cool building with a great vibe but we were just sub-leasing, with access to shared services and the café where people congregate over coffee. We can still do that as well, if we want to, but it’s much more fun having our own dedicated space. Clients have responded really well to it, and we have a couple of car parks, which creates easy access for the people that come and visit us. There are more operational costs than before, obviously, but it’s so refreshing to work in an environment that’s been designed and decorated by our team, and which we’re all really proud of.

How long did the process take?

We took possession on January 16, 2017, and had our official unveiling for clients, business partners and friends of One Plus One on March 17, so effectively two months from start to finish. Having said that, the vendor kindly granted access prior to Christmas to have the ceiling painted white. The refurbishment period involved new lighting, painting, building the boardroom and breakout space, reconfiguring a completely new entrance, and all the other parts of the fit out and furnishing process. Not only have we remodelled our own space, but it’s fair to say this part of Parnell is undergoing an exciting period of regeneration.

Were there any challenges faced along the way?

No, there weren’t. We had a couple of issues with suppliers that caused concern along the way, but in retrospect, they weren’t major. I guess they were exacerbated by our desire to stick to a tight timeframe and finish everything quickly so we could focus our attention on the needs of our clients. The strata title we purchased is 230 square metres in total – and half of that is a separate space we lease to tenants, so you have to juggle the demands of running the business with becoming a landlord. Initially, that’s quite stressful, but once you get the hang of it and sort everything out, it gets much easier.

What companies were involved in the fit-out?

We had an architect we know sketch some early designs, and from there, we had CAD drawings made, and then Lanta managed the construction.  We purchased some of the furniture from SteelCase, the light fittings from Bauhaus, and the desks came from Saatchi Design Worldwide. The artwork is from StarkWhite Gallery and the ocean images are by Wallace Art Prize nominee Cathy Carter.

What’s the reasoning behind the colour choices?

Our corporate colours are copper (which represents connectivity) and purple. So where possible, we’ve included discrete references to those, through some of the light fittings, cushions, and the One Plus One logos on the glass. The wood is all integrated and it’s Birch Plywood, which we chose because it reflects the light so well.

What’s your favourite feature of the new fit-out?

One of the really special features that drew us to the space are the floor to ceiling windows that look out over Kenwyn St, which has some beautiful old trees on it. So many urban office interiors are dark, so we all like looking out and watching the weather change, whilst people come and go. We’re really, really happy here.