EY Tahi image 3 min 1

EY Tahi


Toa Architects

5. Interior design award

In collaboration with Black interiors and Gensler, TOA were engaged by EY to design and incorporate Te Ao Maori into the design of EY’s commercial office fit out in Wellington followed by an authentic cultural design process to incorporate significant cultural narratives into the very fabric of the design as well as ensuring that the entire fit out reflects these cultural narratives through design.

This was done in an innovative way with the use of CNC technology to create the patterning’s and design which reflect the rich history of Te Ao Maori.

We designed a feature ceiling panel which runs from the lobby to the reception. The design is inspired by traditional kowhaiwhai seen on the heke (rafters) of wharenui and reflects the relationship of Ranginui and Papatuanuku the connection of the sky and the earth and our place between. We used Laminex seasoned Oak 458 which was CNC routed with a 15mm vee groove to make the patterning on 12mm ceiling panel MDF (paint finish – Black).

As you exit the lifts, you are greeted by a 3d routed wall panel. It was important for us to have a prominent design that tells the stories within Te Whanganui-a-tara and EY's journey of acknowledging Te Ao Maori by integrating the use of timber fabrication into the design. For this wall design, we wanted to ensure that we had a timber look and used a technique similar to Maori traditional carving but using modern technology and techniques. The wall design is made from Black MDF and refined oak.

With the assistance of Black interiors (manufacturers) we used CNC routing with a Vee groove to create a distinct V-shaped recession in the face of the MDF panel. Individual pieces of 9 mm black MDF were cut out and layered onto the wall to create a 3-dimensional look. Depicted in the wall design you will see two waka the left representing Mana whenua and the other representing EY cultural Journey. Waiti is depicted on the left which shows Matiu island situated in the ancient fresh water lagoon that existed prior to the creation of Te Whanganui o Tara. The pattern in the bottom left acknowledges the Ngakina the cultivated food gardens that were situated beneath what is now the express way in Wellington. To the right we see Te Whanganui a Tara (the great Harbour of Tara). At the center sits the taniwha hataitai the brother of Ngaki who trained himself to fly leaving hatatai to remain as kaitiaki of the harbour. The pattern to the top right depicts The Ngahere Te aho mowai.

The wall design successfully carries meaning and speaks to the overall cultural design narrative while using CNC routing to achieve this look.