When it comes to quirky workplaces, it is hard to look past
Immersion Marketing's Bond St headquarters.
Housed in the historic Salisbury House building, it is not
your typical office space, from the boardroom walled with a
glassed-in lift to the World War 2 bunker under the
Huge timber beams spanning the ceiling were installed about
1910 to support the Evening Star's printing equipment, a
walk-in safe was used to store bonds, and two staff members
share an office that was previously an antique auctioneer's
vantage over his shop floor.
The comfortable, warm and creative area is very different
from the one the Immersion team moved into about three years
It had been used as warehouse storage and the arrival of the
business was the first time ''for a long time'' it had life
in it, marketing department manager Annabel Roy said.
Over the past year, the team has ''toiled away'', creating
additional work areas to accommodate the growing numbers, all
on a shoestring budget.
That work was recognised in the recent Dunedin Heritage
Re-use Awards, when Immersion Marketing received the Otago
Polytechnic School of Design-New Zealand Historic Places
Trust heritage interiors award.
Judges spoke about the imaginative use of a previously
derelict space, highlighting and celebrating the original
features of the building and its interesting alleyway
They felt those involved were demonstrating the potential of
such interesting and previously hidden spaces throughout the
city, and doing so at a scale which was manageable for even a
Immersion Marking was launched by managing director Sarah
Ramsay in 2010 and previously worked in centre-city premises
until outgrowing the space.
When it came to finding new premises, Mrs Ramsay loved the
idea of a heritage building - ''it seemed quite nice and
romantic and very New York-style'' - while there was also the
practicality of affordability for what was then a small
After spending the first winter in the building - which
required wearing jackets in the office - they realised if
they were going to stay, they would need more space and ''put
more love into it'' to make it more comfortable, Ms Roy said.
They had developed the space and invested in it as they could
afford it. There were now 10 staff and everybody had been
involved in the process, Mrs Ramsay said.
''Everybody enjoys being in this space. It's a second home
for me,'' she said.
''It's very much us. It's warm and really comfortable but
it's creative and it's also surrounded by history.
Personally, I love we are one little part of this building's
history. Who knows what we're going to leave,'' Ms Roy added.
Built in 1901, the building's previous tenants have included
Sew Hoy clothing manufacturers and Forno's Auctioneers.