Yearly Archives: 2015

Summer Lovin’


‘Take your pleasures seriously’, said Charles Eames, a sentiment we agree with wholeheartedly as summer holidays draw ever nearer.
We’d like to say ‘thank you!’ for all your support in 2015 and wish you a fabulous Christmas and New Year. We can’t wait to see you in 2016.

The UFL team x

P.S. UFL will close on Wednesday 23 December 2015 and we will reopen on Monday 18 January 2016. If you do need us earlier in January, please just email us, and we will respond to you between our picnics in the sun.

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Vision Streaming At CBD Office


October 2015 saw the completion of UFL’s largest office fit-out project to date. The client was Visionstream, one of Australasia’s most prominent telecommunication companies who provide design, construction and maintenance services for advanced communication and industrial networks.


The well-located new headquarters at 8 Hereford Street, CBD, aptly represents Visionstream who occupy two floors of the prestigious address, which is also soon to be home to Hereford Residences, bespoke apartments with views over Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.


UFL worked directly with the developer, Tawera Group, along with Josephine Design and Paul Brown Architects who designed the space to encompass workstations and accompanying storage for 450 employees. Product supplied exclusively by UFL includes Novah Cluster desking, storage, meeting tables, cafe tables and chairs.



Photos by Simon Wilson

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Hellmann Future Proofs


When a company casts their collective mind back over the year that was, we agree one of our proudest 2015 moments was fitting out Hellmann Worldwide Logistics’ new headquarters. A benchmark in design, functionality and innovation, the new building is 15,000-square-metre ambient and controlled-temperature warehousing complex and head office at Landing Drive, Auckland Airport.


We’ve probably all seen the building by now, designed by Auckland’s RTA Studio, it’s hard to miss. Almost rock-like in its presence, the building presses down on the earth and one end appears to sink right into it. Superbly modern, the architecture is worthy of the world’s most advanced freight-forwarding company. Hellmann Worldwide Logistics operates 443 branches in 157 countries and employs in excess 16,500 people to serve their customers worldwide.

The new Auckland facility has positioned the firm to deliver a new and expanding level of service to its international and domestic customers. It has also united Hellmann’s two previously-separate Auckland operations in one location.


Hellmann New Zealand’s managing director, Chris McCagney says, “Our owners, Jost and Klaus Hellmann, have committed Hellmann globally to a very high bar in terms of service excellence, quality, innovation and environmental care. This development ticks all the right boxes. The move to this unique facility at Auckland Airport will bring together the ambient and controlled-temperature operations of Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and Hellmann Perishable Logistics in Auckland onto a single prime site, increasing our agility, operating efficiency and capacity for growth.”

“A key driver was to look at the wider environment and trends, both here and particularly overseas, to understand the types of customer needs we expect to be servicing in the future and the infrastructure that requires, we also worked to ensure we didn’t box ourselves into any corners and built in the flexibility and scale to adapt and grow as tomorrow’s requirements reveal”.

“Increasingly we are seeing customers who require multiple types of infrastructure across the supply chain and to be able to obtain that from one company, on a single site is a very compelling proposition.”


Mr McCagney says sustainability and minimising ozone depletion/ global warming impacts were other key drivers in the build, so as to maximise the potential for customers to trade off “clean and green”.

“Our refrigeration plant utilises ammonia which has a very low carbon footprint and by installing a large air-cooled condenser, this plant requires no water or other chemicals. We’ve also invested in high-end electric forklifts, variable speed drives, EC fans, LED lighting and daylight harvesting to minimise power usage.

“The green aspect of this facility is huge and we have also become a much more efficient business.”


UFL worked closely with top management personnel, to create a polished, efficient and fun head office. We were asked to deliver a complete design and supply package, which included the boardroom and meeting room, the reception area and counter complete with custom joinery, spatial office design for 60 staff which included a huge amount of desking and mobile storage units, also breakout spaces and a huge, vibrant and friendly café. Eclipse Architecture were also involved in the design of the interior. Colour design was required and saw us pairing neutral greys, blues and blacks with chrome finishes, and bright yellow within the upholstery and polypropylene used in the chairs.


Mr McCagney says a focus on people and fostering a culture drove the integrated nature of the design, which has turned traditional warehousing form on its head by incorporating an office within the overall build.

“A key aspect of this is the cafeteria which we have designed in an open-plan form within the two-storey administration area. When a customer arrives at the reception foyer they are instantly integrated within the ‘marketplace’ of our staff in the cafeteria as well as having sight-lines further into the warehouse operation.


“The new facility is an exemplar of how you can create a really exciting form of architecture in a functional industry build, and that speaks volumes to what is the Hellmann brand and the Hellmann Family ethos — we are showing the way forward in quality of facilities and workplace.”

Praising owners Jost and Klaus Hellmann for seeing the value in good design and showing the faith to “let us get on with running the business”, Mr McCagney also emphasises the huge commitment this investment shows in the local market.


“A unique fourth-generation company that is about to move into the fifth, Hellmann has been operating in New Zealand for close to 30 years now. We’ve been proudly working with a number of our customers for a long period of that time and this facility will ensure we are positioned to continue to replicate our past successes going forward.

“This is a truly world-class, landmark development and in another 20 years’ time I believe it will still stand out as a magnificent, flexible, ecological and efficient facility. Hellmann has made a clear statement to those servicing the New Zealand logistics industry that if you want to be in this business, then you need to invest — because here is the new standard.”


Hellmann was a project that challenged due to its manifold nature. Logistics aside, one that attested UFL’s ability to do it all, a one-stop-shop.

All furniture was sourced from Italy, Spain and Australia and local manufacturers.

20151022_hellmann_0118Photos by Jeremy Toth

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Designing The Designers

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Following on from the blog last week about Sancal who’ve recently completed a stunning renovation of their office, we thought the timing perfect to share our own refurbishment here at UFL headquarters on Rosebank Rd. Hark back to May 2014 and enter designers John Lenihan and Ceili Murphy from Auckland based architectural firm, RCG.

Several reasons incited our need for a change; the current office was an awkward size and we required a larger, more efficient space for our expanding team which was almost doubling in size. A contemporary environment that functioned well was vital, as was a beautiful space which aptly represented not only our own established brand but also that of the agencies we exclusively represent here in New Zealand, all of whom are Italian and Spanish furniture manufacturers and purveyors of cutting-edge design.

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We wanted to showcase our own J-Series workstation. The system originated as a table, then a barleaner. The design has proved so popular that we decided to rework it as a workstation. The J-Series can be customised in terms of size, finishes and cable management to suit even the most discerning of clients.

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Key designer pieces that feature in the space include the piece-de-resistance, Link Chain lamp, a customised light that our friends at LZF made especially for our project. We get constant admiration for this piece, and it is the first thing that visitors see as they enter the showroom.

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Our meeting table and chairs are both by Andreu World, the table is the Reverse, and the chairs are Smart. We are in love with our sleek Arper Catifa 46 chairs, which sport black shells on black swivel bases, a style which never fades. The two framed artworks are Losanges Rug by Nanimarquina, and an Anna Kidman photograph.

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Photos by Anna Kidman

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New HQ Oozes Style at Sancal


Our Spanish friends Sancal, manufacturers of quirky and cool commercial furniture, have recently renovated their headquarters in Yecla. Thinking it high-time their own working environment was as beautiful as clients such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon and Visa, they employed interior design firm Taza & Tacillas to work some magic. The designers achieved a fresh, uncluttered and welcoming ‘interior garden’, a metaphysical green space which is lively and inspiring, a place where employees can create and develop without constraint.



From the upholstery, to the furniture, the paint on the walls and the potted plants which adorn benches and desktops, the whole space embraces colour, function and passion. The company have used the refurbishment to showcase and utilise some of their most endearing product designs, like Tartana domes, Pion tables and stools, REW sofas, lush Tea and Casta chairs, Konoha benches (inspired by leaves), Tonella armchairs, Mandarinas cushions, Tab stools, Nudo tables and Elephant ottomans.



A green and grey carpet literally leads us down the garden path, as it meanders past pods of workstations which are acoustically ‘enclosed’ by gigantic umbrella-like Tartana canopies. Another mural, this time by Malota, treads the green path with an illustration of over-sized potted plants. A colourful botanical installation by Jesús Galváñ, decorates the kitchen area which also doubles as a meeting room.



Further incentive for the office makeover was to play catch-up to the 2013 renovation of their factory. Undergoing an utterly gorgeous transformation into a bright, breezy utilitarian space, the revamp commemorated the company’s 40th birthday. Well-known European muralists Agostino Iacurci and Ricardo Cavolo were commissioned to paint ginormous artworks on the walls of the cutting and sewing areas and the mammoth corridor leading to the dining room.



The recent revamp reveals that Sancal is a company that provides not only a stimulating and carefully planned environment for their employees, but also a beautiful and modern headquarters from which to promote their unique brand and showcase their avant-garde product.


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Spring Sale 2015


Every now and then we need to make room in our beautiful showroom for new designer furniture from European shores.
This is one of those times, so from the 6th November to 20th November, we’re having a big spring clean and that means a big Spring Sale. With many new, and one-off pieces reduced, this is a unique opportunity to purchase designer furniture at sale prices.

And for those of you who are hard-pressed to get to our showroom Monday to Friday? Just for you, we are open Saturday 7th November (that’s tomorrow!) from 10am – 3pm.

See you at HQ! 308 Rosebank Rd, Avondale (just 10 mins from the city)… X

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Where Art Meets Object


Did you know that a large part of Vondom’s product range is planter pots? Which come in a huge array of sizes and finishes? No? Well let me show you.

Not just manufacturers of more traditional furniture items, these Spaniards have made a name for themselves with their planters from the get-go. Mainly because they have a plethora of great designs that cover a load of bases, and they’re all designed by super famous peeps, like JM Ferrero, Teresa Sapey, Stefano Giovannoni and Ramon Esteve.

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For instance if your brief was a planter pot so big that you could curl up and have a sleep in it, that could be illuminated to an array of colours, and watered itself, then look no further. I mean why shouldn’t a pot water its own occupant, we’re all busy people right? An optional self-watering system is included in all planters except those with a basic finish.


That’s what make Vondom pots so perfect for shopping malls, resorts, hotels, offices and other public spaces. Staying true to form, these 100% recyclable planters are made from roto-moulded polyethylene and available in a matt or lacquered finish. Colours include; ice, white, black, bronze, steel, anthracite, red, pistachio, orange, kaki, navy, plum, taupe, ecru, beige and champagne, and as you know, all Vondom products are designed for outdoor use, even the illuminated versions.


If a planter pot (that can double as a lamp) is up your alley, the illuminated versions come in translucent white matt polyethylene, with internal LEDs that may be operated by remote control and colours (white, red, green, blue, light blue, pink and yellow) can be selected or changed automatically.



Nature is a source of inspiration for many of the designs, where soft, round curves reign as in Organic, Stones and Vasijas. By contrast Marquis and Faz combine geometric shapes to create highly textured and decorative pieces which make a huge visual impact.


Not all Vondom planters heed a bigger is better theory, they also cater for those who have a penchant for nano maceteros, or little pots. High and low, round and square, pots and jardinières, the options are endless and allow integration into any environment.


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The Funny Farmer



Our latest obsession is this guy, Isidro Ferrer, the Spanish surrealist illustrator and graphic designer who recently collaborated with LZF Lamps to create a madcap menagerie in miniature, aptly named Funny Farm.

LZF Funny Farm by Isidro Ferrer & LZF Lab 02

Produced in timber, with the FSC tick of approval, these strangely wonderful little beasties are sure to become a collectors’ items. There is Atom Ant, Big Bird, Dolly, Grumpy Goat, He & She Monkey, New Yorker, Mad Mouse, Octo, Penny Gwin, Ronny Rhino, Sheepdog, and Toro the bull to name but a few.

lzf-funny-farm-atomic-ant1LZF (formally Luzifer), long-time admirers of Ferrer’s work, had previously employed him to re-brand their logo in 2008, (a lamp with little horns and a forked tail of course). This time around, their brief was simple; there was no brief, no conditions, no rules, and no guidelines. Absolute freedom. For a man who had built a hugely successful career on reinterpreting ordinary, everyday objects and exploring their meaning through photography, sculpture and typography, this must have been a dream come true.

Isidro Ferrer

In Ferrer’s words, “…On the one hand, I knew right away that I would use wood and that the richness of the colours of LZF’s lamps would be present in the project. On the other hand, I was looking to develop something unique and original, something completely different from what LZF had been doing until then. I began to experiment with the shape and the look of their lamps, and began to play with small wooden pieces inspired by the morphology of their products. My experiments led me to a peculiar, funny family made up of nineteen wooden animals, including, among others, monkeys, a fish with legs, elephants and rabbits. That was when I knew I had created the Funny Farm”.

LZF Octo Funny Farm by Isidro Ferrer & LZF LabFerrer is living proof that surrealism and the art of strange is literally alive and kicking in Spain, and although Dali may be the grandfather of the movement, it is not his exclusively. Ferrer views the world in a highly original way, yet it is also relatable, because his imagery is many things, including funny, playful and light-hearted. One cannot help but come away after an encounter with Ferrer’s work without seeing the world a little differently too.


His career has been likened to the greats like Pierre Mendell, Armin Hofmann and Anthon Beeke, and he’s designed everything from posters to cultural branding, book illustrations for adults and children, comics, to cartoons for television and packaging. Recipient of the National Design Award, Ferrer’s most standout work includes that for the National Drama Centre, graphic design for the Luis Buñuel centenary and his work for the newspaper El País.

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The Padre Rubinos Institute



Famous philanthropist Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish fashion label Zara, established The Amancio Ortega Foundation in 2001. The foundations purpose is to endorse charitable projects within Spain, offering assistance to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. Particular emphasis is placed on education and social aid, like food, medicine and housing.


Recently the charity built The Padre Rubinos Institute in A Coruña, a multi-purpose municipal centre which is a haven for those in need. The Institute provides a wide range of community services, including a day centre for the elderly, a playschool, classrooms, multipurpose areas, public parks and even a hostel.



Folk by Rafa Garcia

Designed by Elsa Urquijo Arquitectos & Tattoo Contract, the designers have achieved with the institute what every community space should be but so often isn’t; serene yet functional, with an overall air of tranquility. The designer’s specified white both internally and externally, with contrast provided in the form of natural wooden accents within the building, and landscaped green spaces with grass and trees outside, all of which harmonize to create a feeling of peace and well-being.



In such a multipurpose building, the furniture needs to be adaptable. Sancal collaborated with the Institute to include some of their most functional yet elegant pieces. Designer furniture is not something that jumps to mind when one thinks of a public space founded by a charitable foundation, but that’s part of the reason this Institute is such a success, and proves that designer furniture and architecture is not the sole right of the wealthy and privileged.


Furniture includes the fun Party sofa by Luis Eslava, quirky cool Tab Tables by Nadadora, the popular Folk sofa by Rafa Garcia and the comforting Soul armchair also by Garcia.


Soul by Rafa Garcia

Although solemn social issues oversee the reason for this building, the overall design refuses to walk in these shoes. The Padre Rubinos is one altruistic space that is fresh, modern and beautiful to behold.

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Tab by Nadadora

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Philharmonic Szczecin


It’s not surprizing the ethereal Philharmonic Szczecin in Poland, stole the show at the Eurobuild Awards 2014, where it was named Architectural Design of the Year. Rising like a feather-light iceberg from the utilitarian port town it occupies, the Philharmonic appears to almost float, whilst surrounded by the heavy nature of the neo-gothic buildings which make-up Szczecin. By day the edifice is ghostly pale, almost austere, in its multi-gabled beauty.


Designed by Estudio Barozzi Veiga from Barcelona, the building is a remarkably unique piece of architecture. The iconic façade is constructed of profiled white anodised aluminium which can be lit with an array of coloured lights and in a myriad of compositions.


The interior spans four storeys, which includes a huge spiral staircase, a symphonic hall, a chamber hall, rehearsal halls, music shop, cafe, spacious foyer, artists’ dressing rooms, storage rooms for instruments and offices. The hall boasts superb acoustics, as you’d expect, due to the special geometry of the walls and ceiling, and the grand opening of the new hall took place at the inauguration of the 2014/2015 artistic season.


Italian furniture manufacturer Arper, have placed furniture into the project, mainly seating upholstered in rich plum tones which work beautifully against the white interior. Lighting is subtle and pretty, in rose hues, illuminating and pulling forth what could otherwise be dark recesses in the space like the stairwell and the bar area.
For lovers of architecture and acoustics, the Philharmonic is an absolute must-do for anyone who happens to finds themselves in Szczecin.


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