Design: The ultimate man-pad

Ben Crawford turns green with jealousy as he describes this rooftop fan base

The Heineken two-bedroom rooftop apartment in Parnell is a tennis fan's dream-come-true. Photo / Ben Crawford
The Heineken two-bedroom rooftop apartment in Parnell is a tennis fan's dream-come-true. Photo / Ben Crawford

I live in my own little one-bedroom apartment in a leafy Auckland suburb. And by "my own" I mean I rent it. It's nice. There's a deck with a pretty view. It's stylish and Eden Park is just across the road. But my fridge is inevitably empty when I open it, I need to cook my own meals and even if I stand on my tip-toes and crane my neck at just the right angle, I can't quite see the sporting action within Eden Park.

A perfectly acceptable seven out of ten on the globally recognised man-pad scale. But I think I've found a ten.

Heineken's branding has been executed well. Photo / Ben Crawford
Heineken's branding has been executed well. Photo / Ben Crawford

Perched on the roof of the ASB Tennis Arena in Parnell might just be the world's ultimate man cave. Although man cave doesn't do this two-bedroom apartment justice. A luxe retreat for the sophisticated male would be more of an apt description.

Imagine this if you will.

You're woken from a deep slumber by a series of rhythmic, grunting sounds. Rolling over, you look out your bedroom window to the view of centre court below, where world number three tennis player David Ferrer is warming up for his morning's match. With
a stretch, you amble out of bed and dive into your roof-top pool to freshen up before a fully catered brunch is served on the penthouse balcony.

Your best mate joins you, having emerged from his own bedroom via the beer-filled fridge. On a glorious summer day like this, it's never too early for a cold one as you relax into the best seats in the house to watch another day of word-class tennis. You'll be hosting 10 of your mates soon, but there's no need to worry about food and refreshments because your personal, on-call butler has that sorted for you.

Welcome to the Heineken Rooftop Apartment, where one lucky punter will win this incredible lifestyle for the duration of the 2014 Heineken Open on January 6-11.

It's a salivatingly cool prize with equally desirable design so I caught up with its creator, Tim McKeown of Vida Concept, to get an understanding of why it looks the way it does and how the apartment came to be.

A feature divider allows privacy. Photo / Ben Crawford
A feature divider allows privacy. Photo / Ben Crawford

There's no denying the brief from Heineken was distinctly commercial with its mandatory requirements to bring to life various aspects of its brand and global marketing campaigns but it has been executed well.

McKeown took the brand's "man of the world" philosophy and set about creating an apartment with a London-esque vibe in a deliberate decision to design a space that wouldn't be distinctly Kiwi, rather one that was of the world.

Creating a temporary structure that wouldn't be out of place in New York or Prague and that can be built within a week is difficult. The material options tend to lead you down dull, functional routes, so the biggest challenge for McKeown and his team was creating a space packed full of homely, design-driven features.

The 14m x 6m apartment has a distinct masculine tone. For a start, there's a fully stocked bar in the living room. But the timber flooring, wooden mid-century Scandinavian furnishings and chic bedrooms create a space any Kiwi male would be proud to call his own.

Apart from the remarkable views over centre court and beyond to the Auckland city skyline, my favourite aspect of the apartment is the dividing wall between the two bedrooms. The timber feature concertinas the length of the room with giant hinged circles cut out in uniformed rows, reminiscent of a giant game of Connect Four. Each disc can be spun independently, open to create some airflow or closed to form a privacy screen.

While I have my doubts about the soundproof properties, I reckon this would be an interesting idea to consider incorporating into your own home as an informal divider between zones in open-plan living areas.

I'm somewhat jealous of whoever gets to spend a week in this ultimate man-pad. And I'm somewhat regretting writing this story as I suspect I'm no longer eligible to enter.

But if you win, you know how to get hold of me; I'd love to show you around.
heineken.com

- Herald on Sunday

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