A grand showcase for international brands - Furniture and Decorating NZ
A grand showcase for international brands

A grand showcase for international brands

Auckland’s newest upmarket apartment building—The International—features a selection of furniture from Italy’s leading design houses.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Opened in 1889, the Grand Hotel was one of Auckland’s premier hotels of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, reigning supreme for nearly 80 years before being converted into offices in 1966.

In 1987, Auckland Council approved the development of a new, 15-storey office tower on the site and all but the front facade of the hotel was demolished, the building having been reduced in heritage status in 1979.

In 2016, plans were approved for the office tower to be converted into a luxury apartment building—The International—completing, almost full circle, the history of the Grand as one of Auckland’s foremost accommodation offerings.

“Around that time, we attended the initial conceptual forums with the architects and design team and were fascinated by the vision for what was to be built within the historic Grand Hotel, celebrating an iconic history,” says Jeanne Bertenshaw, Co-owner of Matisse.

“The intention was to refurbish and restore the original facade meticulously in combination with a bold contemporary exoskeletal addition. We were excited to get involved as we could see that the outcome would produce a design that was both classically elegant and refined yet innovatively modern and new, with a collection of luxury apartments and, as it turned out, the addition of the Josh Emmett-helmed, Onslow Restaurant.”

The formal 'lounge area' features the Charles sofa by Antonio Citterio, the Xilo low table in smoked oak and a pair of Jeffrey Bernett Metropolitan swivel chairs—all from B&B Italia.

The International: fitting out the public areas

Matisse was commissioned to provide a range of furniture options for a number of public areas within The International including the concierge and foyer areas, the private dining room and cinema, as well as poolside.

“The foyer and concierge areas accommodate a day-to-night space for residents and guests, as well as the entry to Onslow restaurant. This required a formal and informal option for seating, with the informal seating located by the apartment building’s reception/concierge area. Then further into the space, a more intimate setting makes the perfect spot for awaiting or departing a culinary experience at Onslow Restaurant,” says Jeanne.

“The concierge area is furnished with Febo armchairs by Antonio Citterio for B&B Maxalto. As with most of the furniture choices, they are upholstered in a light neutral fabric offset with dark smoked oak. The side tables are ‘9’ by Piero Lissoni for Cassina.

“The more formal lounge area features the Antonio Citterio classic ‘Charles’ sofa, the Xilo low table in smoked oak as well as the Jeffrey Bernett swivel Metropolitan chair—all from B&B Italia. In keeping with the building, these furniture choices are understated and classic with a contemporary twist.”

For the restaurant itself, Jeanne says the furniture needed to serve a purpose, yet it was vital that the functionality be overlaid with style.

“The Jens Chair from B&B Italia mixes the classic solidity of smoked oak with bentwood details and a leather seat, with a contemporary overlay—this is ideal for a private dining room as it will improve with age and always feel like home for the residents, while the combination of smoked and light oak chairs creates a relaxed, stylish atmosphere.

When it came time to choose furniture for the cinema and the pool area, again, form and function were priorities.

“With the cinema seating, the Mia chair by MDF Italia was specified as it is super comfortable and all enveloping. Mia is a chair that evokes a sense of home rather than a commercial movie theatre, while providing the robustness that a semi-commercial setting such as this, requires.

“Outside, the vast simplicity of the poolside area invites a contrast of exciting furniture pieces. The Tobi ishi table, a sculptural Japanese-inspired, soft grey concrete dining table, by Barber and Osgerby, has been paired with the ‘Tortora’ coloured Erica dining chair by Antonio Citterio—both designs from B&B Italia. The Chill pool recliners are from Gandia Blasco, a Spanish company renowned for ultra-stylish resort furniture suitable for heavy duty commercial use. Low lying with a simple, boxy shape, these poolside beds are artistically angular yet comfortable and wide enough for any sun worshipper.”

Custom kitchens were created for the penthouse levels using products from Arclinea's Convivium range.

The International: Arclinea and MisuraEmme

Matisse was also commissioned to supply the kitchens and custom wardrobes for the penthouse-level apartments and specified Arclinea and MisuraEmme products, respectively.

“We worked closely with the architects during the initial design stages of the project as many features of the wardrobes and kitchens required changes, which is to be expected on a project of this scale. Fortunately, both Arclinea and MisuraEmme have a vast range of options, this flexibility enabled us to design kitchens and wardrobes that exactly suited the architects’ requirements.

“Arclinea has an unparalleled international reputation garnered over the past ninety years and their head designer, Antonio Citterio, is a world leader in furniture design, industrial design and architecture. An important advantage for Matisse—and for The International—is Arclinea’s extraordinary range of options in materials, personalisation and accessories, which made creating a kitchen solution unique to this project so much easier for both the designer and the client.”

Jeanne says the Convivium product—with floor-to-ceiling Elm Wood finish and matching island—was chosen as the kitchen style. The wood grain was carried through from the floor and coupled with integrated appliances, resulted in a seamless aesthetic that is highly sought-after at this end of the luxury market.

Febo armchairs have been teamed with '9' side tables in the concierge area, while poolside, Chill recliners sit alongside Tobi ishi tables and Erica dining chairs.

Matisse: bringing the best of the best to your home

“Being able to showcase Matisse’s premier brands such as B&B Italia, Arclinea and MisuraEmme in such a prestigious project as The International, was both exciting and very satisfying. Seeing the combination of furniture pieces and materials chosen and how they were placed together has allowed me to see the designs in a new light and to appreciate anew their craftsmanship and universal appeal.

“The overall quality of the project, coupled with the attention to detail from Matisse and its suppliers, makes for a very beautiful and functional setting for the residents and guests of The International to enjoy for many years to come.”

Learn more about the products specified for this project and the range of premier brands available for your next project.

The International—Auckland's newest high-end apartment building.
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