SO Auckland partners with WORLD

SO Auckland partners with WORLD

International hotel brand SO/ has announced it will open its first hotel in Auckland with renowned Kiwi fashion innovators WORLD as the signature design partner.

Located in the heart of the city and occupying the former Reserve Bank, SO/ Auckland will join an artistic portfolio of just seven very individual hotels worldwide.

SO/ Auckland general manager Stephen Gould says the arrival of SO/ brings a new level of design audacity and boldness to the Auckland hotel scene.

'The decision to launch SO/ in Auckland comes at a time when tourism in New Zealand is booming and reinforces that this stunning natural beauty is also a bustling metropolis and the must-visit destination of the South Pacific.'

Each SO/ hotel is brought to life by celebrated names from the world of fashion and design. In Mauritius there is Mr.Kenzo Takada; in Bangkok Monsieur Christian Lacroix; renowned duo Viktor&Rolf in Berlin; and in Singapore, Karl Lagerfeld the emblem creator. In New Zealand WORLD will bring its spirit of extravagance and boldness to the brand.

'We needed a designer with an approach as bold and enterprising as the SO/ brand; energetic, social, bursting with individual character but also inherently a reflection of Auckland. WORLD is a playful mix of sophistication and dynamic style and therefore was an obvious choice. SO/ Auckland is an avant-garde masterpiece imaginatively inspired by WORLD,' says Gould. 

WORLD has been on a journey with the SO/ Auckland team for more than three years to create an emblem, a signature design print, artwork, wallpaper designs for the signature suites, cushions for the chauffeur cars and attire for the staff that encourages individual expressionism.

The emblem reflects the volcanic history of Auckland, the natural beauty of New Zealand and the history of the building itself, the former Reserve Bank which at one time housed the country’s gold reserves.

'We created a stylised topographical map of Auckland and over-inflated the role of volcanoes,' says Benny Castles, designer and director for WORLD.

'The emblem needed to be both nostalgic and futuristic, appealing to Auckland’s mythical past but setting itself in the future of what this city will become. The swirling, hypnotic effect feels as though you’re looking directly into the eye of a volcano, reflecting that feeling of stepping into a boutique hotel; a hypnotic experience where the outside world is left behind and a new experience begins.'

The ground floor of the hotel has been creatively fitted out by Dutch design house, Moooi and is inspired by founder and creative Marcel Wanders who is famous for creating multi-layered sensory experiences.

Gould says guests can expect a service that will challenge traditional hotel concepts with a 'just say SO' attitude. 

'There is no dull lobby but rather a bar that looks like it might be the meeting spot for celebrities, the fashion elite and rockstars,' he says. 'Staff don’t wear name-tags and you can help yourself to the minibar because everything’s free.

'The HI SO rooftop transports you to another world and in equal parts feels like you’re no longer in Auckland while offering the best vista of Rangitoto and the city of sails.'

SO/ Auckland will offer a taste of French inspiration at Harbour Society restaurant on the 15th floor, helmed by French chef Marc de Passorio, former owner of Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Esprit de la Violette. Passorio sold L’Esprit de la Violette before choosing Auckland as his next culinary home.

'In 2012 I visited New Zealand for the first time and fell in love with the country.  It offers so many things, from fantastic produce and wine to amazing scenery wherever you go, fresh air and generous, friendly people. I had never visited a place like this before and since then it has been my dream to return,' says Passorio.

'When Stephen invited me to join SO/ Auckland as the head culinary designer I felt it was fate and an offer impossible to refuse. I am excited to start this culinary adventure and feel this is the perfect opportunity to share my experience, ideas and techniques.'

The 130-room hotel will also feature a café, Club Signature lounge, SO Spa, SO Fit and indoor heated pool.