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GYB Insurance Office – Commercial Building Renovation

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The GYB Insurance offices are planned in an L shape around a central lightwell; which provide a contemporary interior with strong visual connection for both the offices and flexible meeting  spaces below.

The raw concrete, is utilised as a feature, and additional glazing added.  The dramatic full height lightwell, washes the entire open plan areas with light, creating an energised space and embracing flexible, modern open plan offices.

PROJECT COST: $380,000


Built 8 years ago this commercial building has sat empty; being part of an industrial estate in Avalon, Lower Hutt. The construction is concrete floor, concrete tilt slab panels and speedwall, with a footprint of 9.8m x 10m and 6.2m high underside of the raking roof. Existing full height corner glazing facing north and west and a 5m high roller door. Creating a blank palette to begin.

Our brief was to create two separate floors, with a future reception desk, toilets, a small kitchen and a meeting room downstairs. Upstairs was to provide office space for 8 and a boardroom. Part of the brief would be to replace the large roller door with glass aluminium joinery.


The GYB Insurance offices are planned in an L shape around a central lightwell; which provides a contemporary interior with strong visual connection between the offices and flexible meeting spaces below. The raw concrete walls are retained, utilising Autex panels to help reduce reverberation.

In terms of the streetscape, the units are dominated on the south eastern side by the iconic, former Avalon TV Studios. We reflected upon the verticality and the horizontal bands of the TV studio façade, through the design of the new windows and doors to the interior and exterior façade.

Interior Design Full of Light and Colour

Striking graphics were utilised, as the unit is set well back from the road. The new premises really stand out from the surrounding units, which are very closed off to the public with frosted film and large roller doors. This building’s interior has a real point of difference; drama was created by the installation of a lightwell, providing atmosphere and copious amounts of colour, which really enlivens the space, particularly at night.

Flexible meeting spaces

Use of sliding frosted glass walls, means that there is total flexibility and allows for three different meeting spaces, including a modern kitchen, lounging area and boardroom. The whole downstairs space can then be used for client functions and networking.

The boardroom features a panel above the table, reducing sound reverberation and provides feature LED lighting.

Mezzanine Floor design

The upper open plan mezzanine design,looks across and also down into the lightwell and utilises flexible sit/stand workstations. The play of natural light within the space, allows for stimulation and vibrancy. Utilising passive solar design to warm the environment and use of artificial LED lighting is minimal due to the light filtering through from the central lightwell.

Sustainable Architecture

Sustainability was important, recycling the roller door, utilising low VOC carpets, vinyls and paint. The ceilings are 80% recycled material and fully recycled at end of life cycle.

Use of colour was important to enhance their brand design colours of mustard and brown, which I then teamed with grey screens and offset with Resene feature wall colours and carpet.

The design embraces flexible, modern open plan offices. The dramatic full height corner glazing and lightwell, washes the entire interior with light, creating an energised space.


•    Interior Architecture, colours and finishes
Robyn De La Haye with John Bryce from Essence Design

•    Structural Engineer
Certa Engineering Ltd

•    Builder
Holmes Wellington Ltd

•    Acoustic CONSULTANT
Marshall Day Acoustics

•    Graphic Design
Mixed Media Design

•           Photographer
Asset Imagery