Silver Fern Farms
The aspiration for Silver Fern Farms' new head office was to provide an A grade office environment reflective of the passion and values that the company is founded on and an invigorated work culture.
The Silver Fern Farms Head office is a 2660m2 fit-out of the heritage listed Chief Post Office building in Dunedin. As a leading procurer, processor and marketer of meat in New Zealand, Silver Fern Farms embarked on an award winning marketing strategy for their products and business. The aspiration for their new head office was to provide an A grade office environment reflective of the passion and values that the company is founded on and an invigorated work culture.
The former post office building sits proudly next to the Exchange in Princes Street and offers a piece of Dunedin history in which Silver Fern Farms can forge a legacy of its own. Having remained unoccupied for the last 17 years, the building had become dilapidated and stripped it of its former glory. Remaining was an obvious sense of quality and scale of space with memories of its heyday defined by the scars left behind.
The building has been allowed to shine, not by repairing and restoring, but by celebrating the scars and the rough bits that allow its history to be told. Simple but highly finished elements are then inserted to provide high contrast between the old with the new. A new double height atrium allows light to penetrate into the deep floor plates and creates a more connected workplace between floors. A contemporary five meter helical steel stair within the atrium connects the floors and delivers a grand statement in keeping with the quality and scale of the building. Rimu timber treads sourced from the original century old Speights brewery is a respectful gesture to the retention and continuation of Dunedin’s historic buildings.
Black timber clad meeting pods are inserted within the atrium space at ground and first levels. These sit below the original ceiling, emphasising the expanse of height and contrast of the old with the new.
Natural materials of steel, timber, stone and glass form the primary palette, referencing the building’s original materials while also delivering an aesthetic twist aligned with industrial and building elements of farming environments. A secondary, more tactile materials palette includes plants used as screen devices, natural wool fibres within the finishes and furniture, and hides and skins (bi-products of primary meat products) as wall panelling within meeting rooms. The primary colour palette of greens, yellows and blacks provides bursts of solid colour and contrast within the muted textural backdrop of the original building.
The ground floor is predominantly front of house open space and meeting suites for large scale events and client meetings. A tasting kitchen beyond the atrium allows on-site research to be undertaken, products to be displayed and large scale experience and food-based events to be hosted (currently being designed). The first floor delivers a work space with collaboration zones and a small number of internal meeting rooms. A large staff kitchen located directly off the atrium opens out to an external deck with views across the harbour and peninsular beyond.
This successful workplace design delivers an environment that supports and enhances Silver Fern Farms as they continue to grow and strengthen their business. It has provided the opportunity to reinvigorate their business as well as give back to their community by bringing life back into such an iconic building.