Our 2023 Highlights…
What a year it’s been for our team.
2023 has been a particularly rewarding one for us, as many of our long-term projects finally became a reality. Over in Australia, Gold Coast Airport welcomed its first passengers this year. In the UK we celebrated the anniversary of opening the Elizabeth Line, while the thirteen-year collaboration on the line-wide design was recognised with a number of awards. In Aotearoa New Zealand our long-term work in active travel with Auckland Transport has been realised with more cycleways opening across the city.
But it's not just been about transport this year. Some of our cultural projects have opened too - Abrahamic Family House in the UAE and the Sir Howard Morrison Centre in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Our first healthcare project St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in London has completed several new phases and we’re busy working on the Royal Dental Hospital in Melbourne.
This year has enabled us to travel to awards, design festivals and work in each other’s offices to experience the country and local culture. Our teams have also had a fantastic social year, attending events at some of our sports projects, Wimbledon and The Kia Oval, which were great days out as spectators for a change.
As we approach the end of another landmark year, we’re looking back on our highlights…
Maynard on the global stage
Our teams went even more global this year, connecting with our partners and collaborators around the world. We wanted to encourage people in our studios to get out there and speak on subjects they feel strongly about, as well as project outcomes that come from the heart.
We were especially honoured to attend the World Architecture Festival in Singapore, where we had two projects shortlisted – Melbourne Metro and the Elizabeth Line, with the latter taking home the win for Completed Buildings: Transport.
Over in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland our Designer Emme has been part of several events for Design Assembly, speaking on embedding local culture into city placemaking. Sydney-based Industrial Designer Nila had the chance to attend Dutch Design Week and presented her project Crafted Liberation, an exhibition exploring unity and championing the empowerment of women of Iran.
A big year for the Elizabeth Line
The Elizabeth Line is the most significant upgrade of London’s transportation in decades. In its first year since opening, the line has supported over 150 million journeys across London, making it the busiest railway line in the UK.
To commemorate the one year anniversary our team went back out to capture everyday journeys across the network. What’s most rewarding is how the Elizabeth Line has proven its worth not just for the passengers but for the station staff as well. They spoke to us about their sense of pride in working in their new stations and having the right information and products to assist customers throughout their journey.
The line-wide design across the network picked up a number of awards, including the prestigious Architect’s Journal - Infrastructure and Transport Project of the year.
Milestones for our metro projects
The Elizabeth Line has laid the foundation for our team to continue applying line-wide design principles across our metro projects around the world.
In Sydney, Waterloo Station has reached 95% completion and anticipation is building for the precinct to be opened to the people of the city – expected in the New Year. Also currently under construction and due for completion in 2025 is Melbourne Metro. Our team has been busy on site readying the line-wide industrial design and signage for this once-in-a-generation city-shaping project that marks a new era in transport for the state of Victoria, and several of the Maynard team relocated for the project to make Melbourne their home. Brisbane’s Cross River Rail is also in construction and we've visited the mock-ups and prototypes to evaluate the station environments and products.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, City Rail Link is rapidly progressing and Julian was on site when he was over in November. New Zealand’s first underground rail stations will provide a step change in passenger experience and embed Māori cultural identity in the very fabric of the city – projected to open in 2025.
A focus on craft
Several of our projects embedded with local culture reached completion this year, and our designers were focused on crafting products that sink into the architecture.
A flagship supportive housing development in the centre of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Te Mātāwai will set a new standard for Kāinga Ora, delivering real social, cultural and economic benefits for the community. The calming, fluid movement of the local stream Waihorotiu inspired the designs across the wayfinding products. Artwork designed by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei artist Katz Maihi adorns the signage suite, explored in the fluid formed timber.
Rotorua’s Sir Howard Morrison Centre is among Aotearoa’s most beloved performing arts venues. Our wayfinding concept grew from a collaboratively developed brief which emphasized a sense of being present in the space: kei kōnei koe. A bespoke pictogram suite is crafted from wood while artist Henriata Nicholas’ artwork explores a renewed celebration of the cultural language of Rotorua and the lakes.
Deftly working with three languages (Arabic, English and Hebrew), the wayfinding system for Abrahamic Family House embraces the shared values and universal common ground across the site. Working with natural materials like limestone and concrete reflected in the architecture, the wayfinding products were designed to sink into the fabric of the landscape.
New research and innovation
Earlier in the year we saw our three-language wayfinding system finally in the ground at Abrahamic Family House. Taking our learnings to other projects we’ve been engaged in testing and refining bilingual signage in Aotearoa, encouraging the inclusion of te reo Māori on signage.
We were focused on broadening our knowledge of inclusive design and invested time into learning about neurodiversity. Julian spoke at VDEF on the role of inclusion in practice, explaining how his experience with dyslexia has positively driven his career in design.
We’ve also been trialling the use of VR across a number of rail and metro projects, which has transformed the user testing process and allowed for enhanced insight and iteration. Our UK team was thrilled to make it to the final stage of an innovation project in Bristol Temple Meads Station to support seamless end-to-end travel through an app - TravelPorter.
Our biggest awards year yet
This year we took home awards for a variety of our projects, many of which were years in the making for our teams.
Our Australian studio picked up a Transform Award for wayfinding at Gold Coast Airport, which has always held special significance as it’s the first project we won when Maynard expanded to Australia seven years ago. In Aotearoa we were awarded a Best Award for our wayfinding at the Sir Howard Morrison Centre in Rotorua.
Maynard in the UK had a lot to celebrate too as the Elizabeth Line took home awards at the Architect’s Journal Awards, FX Awards and the World Architecture Festival. Our wayfinding and placemaking for London’s first legal street art tunnel, Leake Street, was a finalist in the Design Week Awards, while our work for Abrahamic Family House was another win for our team at FX.
Our studios are growing
With new reach into Brisbane and Wellington, our studio footprint is expanding in Australasia. Both Maynard and our sister company TDC are also busy servicing the growing market in the MENA region.
It’s been a big year for our teams in Australia, with Kate Pleban announced as Director of Maynard in the region. Kate first joined Maynard in London back in 2015, and on returning home to Melbourne she was key to establishing our presence in Australia. With growth from Sydney and Melbourne now into Brisbane, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2024.
In Aotearoa | New Zealand, there are some exciting projects on the horizon to mark our team’s growth into Te Whanganui-a-tara Wellington. As Hutt City’s transport priorities evolve to meet the challenges of urban growth, changing travel patterns, and climate change, an inclusive wayfinding system has been focused on bringing active travel initiatives to the region.
And that's a wrap
We want to thank all our clients and partners who have worked with us to deliver a landmark year of creative new ventures. With plenty on the horizon for 2024, we look forward to continued collaborations and realising new projects together.