by Fooi-Ling Khoo
ArchiTeam, along with a lucky little group of Melbourne architects, was flown to Sydney for the opening night celebrations of the new Fisher & Paykel “Experience Centre” in Alexandria. Upon arrival in Sydney, there was just enough time before the opening to inspect our hotel, Tonkin Zulaika Greer’s charmingly revamped Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale; raid the local Daiso for snacks; and inspect the nearby Starchitecture of Jean Nouvel’s hanging gardens and heliostats.
That evening, a waiting minibus bundled us off to the opening night event at the Experience Centre. It was a fun and chatty evening of just enough speeches and plenty of mingling with a diverse range of architects from one-man-bands to plush firms producing luxury apartments, proprietors of mega appliance outlets and, of course, Fisher & Paykel reps.
All around us, Fisher & Paykel’s showroom ovens slaved courageously in the service of our delicious snacks. We enjoyed the tasty aromas as much as the treats themselves, showing once again, why everyone ends up in the kitchen at parties.
While offered in a relaxed and generous spirit, this level of largesse is unusual in the architectural world and clearly, something was afoot in this showroom. Instead of the typical fluro lit barn of rack upon rack of product, the emphasis here is on a more “residential” experience. A luxurious residence of course and without the selling pressures expected in a retail environment.
Well-known New Zealand architects, Fearon Hay, were commissioned to design a showroom replete with the hallmarks of tasteful contemporary homes - polished timber floorboards, warm downlights, stainless steel and stone benches. No laminate in sight. The intention here is to shift perceptions. Where you might have expected to see Smeg or Miele, you will see Fisher & Paykel.
Since Fisher & Paykel’s acquisition in 2012 by the Haier Group, the Chinese appliance giant, it is now an international company operating in 50 countries and manufacturing globally as well as in its native NZ. This international expansion is not so well known to the Australian market who, probably, still regard them as local. Fisher & Paykel’s intention – and the showroom is part of this campaign – is to elevate their brand from the sensible and upper middle brackets in Australia into the prestige niche currently occupied by global European brands such as Miele, Smeg, Bosch, Asko et al.
“Fisher & Paykel’s goal is to be the number one premium appliance brand globally, and in order to do so, we must be synonymous with the kitchen. The concept of the Experience Centre was born out of an intimate understanding of our customers and their various lifestyle needs. We have a desire to inspire,” said Mark Elmore, General Manager Design Integration at Fisher & Paykel.
Australia’s first Fisher & Paykel Experience Centre is located at 90-96 Bourke Street, Alexandria. Visit www.fisherpaykel.com/au/experience/experience-centres-sydney/ to learn more, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register interest in a tailored experience for your clients with product design experts, or to book a time in the centre for a meetings with customers.
Fisher & Paykel is a proud sponsor of the ArchiTeam Awards
Published Datum | ArchiTeam 15 April 2016
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