Fearon Hay’s commercial fit-out in Auckland celebrates the past while promising a bright future.
Tucked between Auckland’s bustling Queen Street and the former red-light area of Fort Lane is a collection of shops, offices and restaurants known as The Imperial. Local firm Fearon Hay transformed two former movie theatres – which have remained largely empty following a fire in 1956 – into a richly layered public interior that celebrates both the past and future. The ground-floor laneway hosts a Danish pastry café.
‘The public needed a clear invitation,’ says architect Tim Hay of the sloping space that blurs the border between interior and exterior. Visitors will find typical Auckland paving stones underfoot and urban-scale visual cues employed throughout, including suspended neon signage in the restaurant.
Brass tables and Jielde lamps line the laneway, helping the transition from daytime cafe to evening bar.
The laneway welcomes passers-by into a Danish cafe situated below commercial office spaces.
Most of furniture and antiques were sourced locally.
The architects worked with the original architecture, removing superficial additions to reveal the materials beneath.
Fearon Hay transformed potential constrains, such as a deep site and limited natural light, into opportunities.
Photos courtesy Patrick Reynolds.