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Cardrona x Warren & Mahoney: Base & Mezz Refit

Our new developments for Winter 2018 include a full refit of Base Café & Mezz. Check out what architects Warren & Mahoney had to say about the project!

By Gareth Huston & Simon Taverner (Warren & Mahoney)

The Warren & Mahoney design team’s brief from Cardrona was to focus on maximising the guest experience & the unique mountain culture of the resort by reinterpreting & regenerating the existing buildings through a refurbishment programme staged over five years.

Base Café concept drawing by Warren & Mahoney

Cardrona has a unique mountain culture which provides a distinctly Kiwi experience. Warren & Mahoney’s task was to build on this strong culture & enhance the guest experience for years to come. In order to do this, we had to view our work through the lens of the guest.

To understand this culture, Warren & Mahoney held an initial creative planning workshop with Cardrona staff where we brainstormed ideas on what makes a great experience for guests who visit the mountain. We looked at the guests’ experience the moment they arrived until the end of their day. Customer experience is central to the project, so it was important that this was defined & then translated into the high-level design strategy which forms the basis of our work at Cardrona.

Mid-Construction, January 23

Environmental sustainability was also a key consideration, & it was clear that reinterpreting existing buildings would achieve this requirement. In line with sustainable practices, the new buildings feature upgraded glazing, insulation, LED lighting & sustainable materials such as rubber flooring.

The five-year master plan allows a refurbishment & repurposing of the existing buildings with new décor & design, while respecting the existing design language & with minimal disruption to staff & guests.

The Base Café & Mezz projects were scheduled for construction this summer, to be ready for the 2018 winter season. This follows the success of the refurbished Noodle Bar, the Lounge, Little Meg, the mobile Vista Bar & DJ booth, & the game-changing 2017 McDougall’s Chondola project.

The Base Café on the ground floor is designed around a central service zone that will provide open plan self-service, supported by the popular Mountain Meals zone. To help with flow & minimise congestion, the Base Café features more checkouts & provide café court-type seating to cater to large groups. A recharge zone bisects the main café & the Juice & Java outlet.

The completed Base Café atrium... complete with high-fiving penguin!

The Mezz on the first level got a makeover to include contemporary private booths & restaurant-style seating which provides guests with an à la carte dining experience that can support extended service for day visitors & overnight apartment guests.

One of the biggest challenges for Warren & Mahoney has been to make sure we build on the strong culture the resort has carefully nurtured, & deliver this consistently over five years to make this a project Cardrona can be proud of throughout all phases. Making sure Cardrona’s business & customer experience remains consistent while we do this is one of our main priorities.

The next phase of projects are already briefed & in concept design for the 2019 season, providing Cardrona’s guests with an exceptional resort experience, a contemporary Rentals offer, seating & lockers, & a weather-protected express lane to the slopes. We’ll be keeping you updated on our progress, so watch this space!


This article features in our 2018 Heart of Gold magazine - get your copy on the mountain or read it online!

June 20, 2018

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