The Libraries at The Hotel Britomart

Cheshire Architects’ Emily Priest talks us through Auckland’s elegant new function rooms for hire.

So Emily, what was Cheshire Architects’ intention for these spaces bookable for everything from meetings to private parties? We designed the spaces — The Lounge, The Wine Library, The Chef’s Library and The Pupuke Room — to be as welcoming for a couple enjoying an intimate breakfast as they are for a group around the chef’s table experiencing an exquisite dégustation menu by executive chef Tom Hishon. 

CONNECTED COLLECTIONS Emily says the rich history of the Britomart precinct and the hotel’s heritage also informed The Libraries’ interiors. “Britomart has a multitude of grand old buildings, so we wanted to insert a sympathetic set of spaces into the Buckland Masonic Building. The Libraries is a collection of sorts. The century-old brick, kauri timber beams and relics such as patterned wallpaper and hand-painted typography are treasured keepsakes that remind us of the buildings we seek to celebrate. Showcasing the work of talented artisans and fabricators, a library of tools, artefacts and artworks are housed within the spaces, each with a strong connection to our land and culture.”

Can you explain the thinking behind the colour and material palettes? We wanted The Libraries to have a unique fingerprint that could never be repeated. With Aoteroa’s landscape as our muse, we combined warm timber and exposed brick with soft, neutral linens, terracotta and lush green woollen rugs, hand-tooled side tables and leather-backed chairs, alongside numerous handcrafted ceramics. 

Who are some of the local artisans whose work is featured here? The Libraries is filled with as many beautiful pieces as we could gather, both our own bespoke designs and objects made in collaboration with local creatives, including ceramicists Jane Burn, Kristen Calder, Rachel Carter and Elena Renker; weaver Ruth Castle; painter and woodturner Peter Edmonds; woodturners Walk in the Park; glass artists Monmouth Glass Studio; and curator of Ponsonby store and gallery Public Record Yuka O’Shannessy. It was an absolute highlight having such talented people working alongside us.

Interview Alice Lines
Photography Sam Hartnett

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