Google Aotearoa

Warren and Mahoney
New Zealand/Aotearoa

In a global first, Google has embarked on its first ever partnership with indigenous peoples for its new purpose- built workplace in Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand. In acknowledgment of the need to approach this collaboration with a world best practice, Google appointed Warren and Mahoney, to lead the engagement process alongside cultural advisor Anzac Tasker and local iwi (indigenous peoples) Ngāti Whātua.

Google Aotearoa’s new home wears a narrative woven around place, featuring stories of land, people, and culture – each bringing the richness of Aotearoa, New Zealand to its users. The workplace considers its users and visitors through an experiential lens, inviting each person on a journey from the peaks of mighty mountains to the shores of our rugged coastlines. Through personification workshops with Te Aroha Grace from Ngāti Whātua Orākei, the design team arrived at the central idea of Te Tai (the tide) as the metaphorical embodiment of Google in Māori. The tide gives and receives, representing the relationship with Google and Ngāti Whātua Orākei which goes beyond the project itself and builds on a future partnership. We inverted Google’s mission statement by bringing the magic of Aotearoa to Google.

Bringing the concept of Te Tai to life is an immersive digital ceiling which plays curated audio-visual scenes and offers a rolling reel of Aotearoa. This experience can be tailored throughout the day to change the identity and ambiance of the arrival sequence in the space.
An impressive wooden centrepiece, made from locally sourced timber sheets from Kaitaia is carved into large, sheer walls representing a gorge running through the heart of the workplace.

Furniture: Steelcase (Kada), Europlan (Haworth), Fletcher Design. Lighting: Erco, Energylight, Zumtobel. Finishes: Juken NZ, European Floor Toppings, Inzide, Heritage Carpets. Fittings & Fixtures: Greenmount Interiors, United Make/Monstavision, There/Big Ideas, Wildfire.

Photography: Sam Hartnett