Mac's Brewbar Northern Steamship

Completion date
Interior Design

Following on from the success of our work at Nuffield Street, The Northern Steamship was the second environment we created for Mac’s in conjunction with brand agency Shine. This project demonstrates the value of investing in a strong upfront strategy and determining a consistent design language, as the design framework we established while working on the Nuffield Street project enabled the Northern Steamship design to be completed at a particularly low cost.

A key part of that framework is that each bar is unique, bespoke and crafted yet all convey the same spirit and irreverent personality. To create a feeling of familiarity and belonging, there has been a conscious decision to mix up the furniture, place the old next to the new, combine traditional ideas with modern technology to create something different. It’s the odd pairings which create interest, the bare bulb next to the chandelier, it’s this juxtaposition of ideas that define the Mac’s brand.

Despite a limited budget and a heritage building that could only be touched lightly, here we are shown how the serious business of drinking can be cheekily enhanced. Somehow the sheer quantity and variety of the lamps and the absurdity of their inversion allows them to impart a homely feel. Add the pick-n-mix chairs and you’re in a city pub that is mocking its oh-too-suburban roots. Nana chic.

— Judges comments New Zealand Institute of Architects


  • 2007 NZIA – Resene Local Award for Architecture – Interior Design
  • 2007 Best Design Awards – Spatial – Bronze

Other team members

Julian Harris Architectural Graduate - Associate Auckland
Nick Moyes Principal Auckland
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