Icebreaker, Auckland Airport

Location /  Auckland International Airport, New Zealand

People Involved / Studio Gascoigne

Shopfitter / Datum Projects

Photography / Provided by Datum Projects

Authentically Kiwi: Natural New Zealand meets natural clothing in Icebreaker’s new store at Auckland International Airport. The Icebreaker store at Auckland Airport nestles among a range of outlets offering iconic New Zealand products, from pounamu (greenstone) and honey to fine chocolate.

Studio Gascoigne, who designed the store, took this connection between nature and clothing and made it a focal point, using natural materials for the fit-out. The front is clad in reclaimed timber from VidaSpace, with locally sourced pine and ply used for interior fixtures and ceiling beams. The floor juxtaposes timber areas with grey tiles that suggest the rugged schist rock of the Southern Alps.

The designers describe the space as barn-like and open to draw customers into the otherwise narrow store. Dominating the interior is a ski-lift from the slopes of Mt Ruapehu (which involved ‘tricky engineering’, according to Auckland’s Datum Projects, who executed a number of the airport fit-outs). Evocative murals – mountains, sheep, hill country – line the walls, but it’s the back wall that brings the real surprise: clad in living New Zealand moss, it’s a soft, natural backdrop to the racks of Ice Breaker clothing.

Located in the Departures zone, the Icebreaker store offers a uniquely Kiwi experience to departing tourists; a memento and memory to carry overseas with them. As the designers explain, ‘the store is as much a billboard for New Zealand as it is a retail outlet . . . and it is working very well’.