Kotahi, New Zealand’s third largest logistics company continues to open local businesses to the world. 

Since early European settlement, farming has been the foundation of New Zealand economic growth. Farmers soon discovered that New Zealand has a huge advantage over the Northern Hemisphere; a temperate climate means that grass grows all year round and livestock can flourish outdoors, even in winter. New Zealand could supply Europe with quality natural products all year round, but the problem, then and now, is getting the product to world markets. Wool was the early staple of farming exports as it could readily be shipped over long distances, but Australia was as far as New Zealand meat and dairy products could be moved until, in 1882, a refrigerated cargo of lamb and mutton was sent from Otago to London, arriving in perfect condition. The age of New Zealand food freight logistics had arrived.

 

The Project

New Zealand exports over half of all food produced, a trade that is worth over $26 billion annually. However, all our exporters must compete with major international companies who can often ship more efficiently to world markets. New Zealand shipping container flow is less than 1% of total world flow, and our north-south trade routes are dwarfed by the east-west routes and giant container ships of the Northern Hemisphere. In the modern world, exports and international trade are vital. According to New Zealand freight logistics company Kotahi Logistics, New Zealand is a small and isolated country that punches above its weight with the quality of natural products, but faces unique challenges in getting to market.

Kotahi Logistics was founded in 2011 by Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms with a mission to create a freight handling 'sea change' to help Kiwi businesses succeed on a global scale. 'Kotahi' means 'standing together as one', with one vision and one aspiration. The 'sea change' is the pooling of container cargo from over 40 of New Zealand’s leading import and export companies to optimise ocean freight and land-side transport supply and demand, and to create economies of scale.

 

The Growth

Kotahi Logistics has grown rapidly and has enabled local business growth by providing logistics and product access to over 60 countries. Kotahi now services a third of containers leaving New Zealand, a trade worth over $40 billion annually.

With a growing business, Kotahi Logistics needed a new space to accommodate a growing work-force without compromising quality.

When Steve Cooper, Kotahi CFO, and Christine Lyall, Learning and Development Consultant, set out to transform their new office space into a unique working environment, they enlisted the help of Unispace associate Rosie Taylor.

Kotahi had outgrown its previous office, but had come to love the high studs of the old heritage building. Cooper and Lyall wanted to emulate that spaciousness in their new building. With an expanding workforce and open plan style of working, tailored acoustics was also a priority. Taylor needed a product that could impress visually and perform acoustically without using too much space.

 

The Design

Rosie Taylor’s designs were influenced by the company’s core business of worldwide freight logistics. Her design scheme used freight and ocean-inspired materials and imagery to reflect Kotahi’s story.

Taylor reinforced the Kotahi brand by infusing the brand colours through the design scheme; orange, black, muted green, and blue were used throughout the fit out. “We wanted products that could be customised to reflect Kotahi’s story whilst still having great aesthetics and functionality”, says Taylor.

Autex Account Manager Anton Agnew and Senior Designer Jonathan Mountfort worked closely with Taylor from the project start to completion, helping to bring her creative vision to fruition.

The entrance area is a focal point and gives strong reference to the global reach of Kotahi. “We customised a stacked shipping container-inspired wall using Quietspace Panels overlaid with Etch fabric that allowed design flexibility and acoustic benefits for noise reduction, whilst being a bold statement and a talking point the client loves,” the designer explains.

 

Autex Customised Designs

This project was one of Autex’s first completely customised designs using Etch™.  Agnew and Mountfort were excited by Taylor’s vision, using the new technology to print a photo as a shadow detail on the fabric. “We were confident we could make this work right from the start, and with some work behind the scenes scaling the image and enhancing some of the details to ensure the result was clean and crisp, we were able to take Rosie’s vision and create something really great that we’re all super proud of – and the client loves”, says Mountfort. 

 

Autex Product Details

Kotahi’s shipping container wall adds character and strong branding, but also helps reduce noise reflection in the busy entrance area that has a multitude of hard surface finishes, including polished concrete flooring. The clever use of the high-performing Quietspace® Panel overlaid with Etch decorative fabric has allowed for comfortable interaction at the business front.

Shanelle Sanson, Office Manager at Kotahi, says they were mindful of being a growing company and didn’t want increased staff numbers to mean increased noise. “There’s nothing worse than 80 or so people talking and getting louder and louder,” she said.

 

Quietspace® 3D Ceiling Tiles

Autex’s Quietspace® 3D Ceiling Tiles were used to help define breakout areas and absorb a combination of high speech frequencies and background noise, like HVAC systems, in the new open-plan spaces. The targeted application of the Quietspace 3D Ceiling Tiles creates distinct acoustic working zones that promote efficiency and proactive staff collaboration.

Entrance wall features 25mm Quietspace® Panels, installed with a 20mm negative detail, overlaid with custom designed Etch™ images of stacked shipping container doors. Colours used are; Vintage, Sage, Octane and Stonewash.

The suspended ceiling features S-5.26 Quietspace® 3D Ceiling Tiles in Civic, Silver and Brilliant Orange. In the open-plan breakout area and staff café, these tiles were placed into an existing ceiling grid suspended from the exposed concrete slab.

 

Cube™ panels

Meeting rooms were fitted with Cube™ panels, which provide great acoustic absorption and allow for a distinctive look in each location. The panels will also be used as “acoustic pin boards” – further adding to the product functionality and aesthetic.

 

Etch

Etch is an exciting new addition to the Autex offering. Agnew explains that Etch fills a unique, unoccupied niche in the marketplace. “Created using cutting edge laser technology, Etch is a visual layer of artistic expression; a wall fabric combining design, colour and texture”.

“We are really excited to introduce Etch to the market, and this project really highlights how creative design can come alive in an acoustic product” says Agnew. “From subtle branding to bold design statements; we can do it”

Etch is available in a pallet of 30 colours and 15 standard patterns or can be “Etched” to any custom design. Autex can take your design or work collaboratively with you to create something unique.

Etch is best suited for overlaying with an Autex acoustic backing to provide a customised acoustic solution. Etch is a decorative, functional, and durable interior wall fabric suitable for commercial offices, theatres, libraries, retail, hospitality, and education spaces. 

With Etch, Taylor could create a stunning design, customised for company brand, working style and acoustic requirements.

Meeting rooms feature two custom Etch™ designs, Cairo and Paris, overlaid on 12mm Cube™. Colours used; Azure Paris, Azure Cairo, Jade Paris, Jade Cairo, Charcoal Paris, and Charcoal Cairo.

Taylor says her client “loves their new space and way of working, which is the project’s biggest success”. 

The Architect

Rosie Taylor 

Unispace

Rosie has more than 10 years’ experience across all areas of professional design.  She is proficient in both creative and technical aspects, as well as client and consultant liaison with experience in education, hospitality, retail, government and commercial design.  Taylor gained a Bachelor of Design majoring in Interior Architecture from Victoria University, Wellington.  She spent five years in London and Hong Kong, specialising in hospitality design of five-star hotels and resorts.

Since returning home, Taylor has turned her focus to the commercial workplace and education sectors at Unispace.