“It’s a travesty that repeats every year: just as the better weather hits our shores, instead of lolling around on the sand and in the surf, we have to…hit the office.”
Far from wallowing in the back-to-work blues, Studio 106 channeled their collective consciousness into coming up with ways to maintain their productivity and stretch out that summer feeling. The answer arrived on four wheels: a retro caravan begging to be temporarily adopted. So, instead of bringing the outdoors into the office, they simply brought the office to the outdoors.
Reducing the functional footprint from a 95 square meter office to a peripatetic yet practical space was a challenge but thanks to Retro Events it was made possible. The design team used a semi-converted caravan as their home away from home. Not only did it provide the mobility and flexibility needed, but they could park it on the site of one of their current projects.
“With a plan in place, we employed a “less is more” philosophy as our motto to retro-fit the interior to suit our needs. To shoehorn ourselves into the reduced footprint 9m2 whilst keeping a sense of flexibility, we’ve trimmed it down to the bare essentials – computers, chairs, our office plant and, it goes without saying, a coffee station! The printer is downsizing to A4, and a selected library of books and materials came along for the ride.”
“We were lucky to have partnered with Refold desks for the experiment. They kindly provided the ideal portable working station – desks fashioned from cardboard, which you can fold, and refold as needed. They made transport and flexibility a breeze!”
“Being a small team we work in a very open and collaborative way in the studio and translating this to a small caravan proved easy. We included two ‘break-out’ zones in the planning of the space.” The first was a flexible stand-up desk by Refold. This offered the option to take a meeting under a near by tree or a discussion over into the shade.
The second was a more permanent area for larger meetings, lunches or gatherings. For this they brought along a small white-board table and a few stools.
They implemented an installation that was developed for the studio wall titled ‘ between the folds’, hence utilizing all the unused scrap paper the office produced. Through scrunching, twisting and fixing they created a new ceiling canopy that gave the interior a bit of flare.
From there, they stripped the caravan right back, not only to keep weight down but also to provide more space for circulation and a calm environment to work in.
One of the greatest benefits, as an architecture practice, was mobility. An office on wheels allowed them to park up on one of their project site which opened up the opportunity to gain new insight into the site.
“We ended up chatting to lots of local users and gained real learning’s into what they enjoyed about the site or what they wanted to see change.”
“We really enjoyed the engagement with the public and community of the site and could see us employing a similar event for future projects at an earlier stage. We found the event gave the team a bit of a break from the reputation of working week in week out and seek to engage with future urban or community events which relates closely to a lot of the sport and community work we focus in.”
Everyone has asked us why we went mobile- and we say “why not!”
Where: Akarana Marine Sports Centre off Tamaki dive by Okahu bay
Design Team: Dion Gosling and Keri Cunliffe from studio106 architect
Client: Studio106 Architect www.studio106.co.nz
Photography: Jo Wickham photography
Words by: Claire McCall and Keri Cunliffe
Watch the video of Studio 106’s mobile office: