New showroom reflects changing times NZ
New showroom reflects changing times

New showroom reflects changing times

After 40 years in Newmarket, Auckland, commercial and residential business McGreals Office Furniture has moved into new premises around the corner in Grafton.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

There's been quite a shake up in the office environment in the last couple of years. Between the opportunities offered by changing technology and the challenges thrown up by Covid-19, many businesses have had to radically rethink the way they set up and operate their workplaces.

Over the years, trends have moved from separate offices to open-plan spaces to hot-desking, and now an increasing number of people are either working entirely or partially from their home offices.

McGreals Office Furniture has survived and thrived on change since it first opened its doors in Newmarket more than 45 years ago. Still owned and run by the same family, McGreals has just moved for the fourth time in all those years and is now in Auburn Street, Grafton, just around the corner from its previous premises in Khyber Pass, Newmarket.

Damien Peters, the great nephew of founder Patrick McGreal, says the new premises is quite different, to reflect the changing times. And Damien should know. He's taken on every role in the business, from sweeping the warehouse floor and building furniture to his present position of co-owner.

"Our new showroom is an open, industrial, New York loft-style building with a great flow and fantastic spaces. It gives us the opportunity to show our stock in a contemporary setting."

Soft, comfortable furniture for informal chats between co-workers is very popular, and McGreals has seen a lot of interest in soft-touch plush fabrics that are easily wipeable, cleanable, and anti-microbial.

McGreals Office Furniture: a one-stop-shop for all your office furniture needs

“Interior designers can call in or bring their clients here and see samples in office settings. We can source products from manufacturers both locally and around the world for commercial and residential projects,” he says.

As qualified interior designers, McGreals’ staff can work with clients to locate the right furnishings and styles for their business and home needs and produce plans if required or work with architects and designers' plans.

“We see ourselves as a one-stop-shop; we stock a vast variety of commercial and residential office furniture. We also manufacture a number of ranges of furniture or can customise our standard designs to order for our clients, which means shorter lead times. This is a real bonus at the moment when international deliveries can be subject to delays,” says Damien.

“Bar leaners are also a really sought-after item for informal meetings as opposed to the team sitting around the board table; these are great for casual catch-ups, chatting with colleagues and the informal approach helps to break down anxiety for people,"

McGreals Office Furniture: bringing office spaces into the 21st century

Co-owner Bianca Peters says the company has developed a niche in what they call “resi-mercial” furniture.

"We have been finding our clients want to create spaces for their staff where they can be comfortable during their working hours and have areas for time out, as well. I think this has, in part, been driven by the larger number of people in the last year or two who have been having to work from home. They enjoy that comfort but miss the collaboration and company of being part of a team in the office. So by being flexible and encouraging staff to split their weeks between work and home offices, employers are finding they need less office space. And, at the same time, they are trying to recreate a more homely atmosphere in their workspaces,” she says.

“Offices are still open plan in their layout, but business owners are looking for products such as silent pods and booths where staff can have private meetings. These need to be moveable and able to be changed around reasonably easily,” says Bianca.

“People are looking for adjustable desking, with staff working alongside each other, but with the ability to access separate areas for confidential meetings and so on.

“Bar leaners are also a really sought-after item for informal meetings as opposed to the team sitting around the board table; these are great for casual catch-ups, chatting with colleagues and the informal approach helps to break down anxiety for people. The other really popular pieces are soft seating, like couches and bean bags, and casual coffee table settings.”

McGreals stocks an extensive range of soft seating, much of which is made in New Zealand and can be customised with fabrics in corporate colours or to coordinate with existing décor.

“Since last year, and the emergence of Covid-19, we have seen a lot of interest in soft-touch plush fabrics. Now, with the latest developments in textile technology, they are easily wipeable, cleanable, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial,” says Bianca.

And to bring the whole "resi-mercial" look together, Bianca says there is an increasing interest in green walls. “Plant walls make people feel happier, healthier and more at home. We are custom-making these lovely green walls for all sorts of places, for fixed and mobile walls, and to sit on top of storage units.”

Speak to the team at McGreals before embarking on your next commercial or residential office fit out.

Green walls are increasingly popular as the biophilic aesthetic makes people feel happier at work.
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