He's travelled the world for his high-flying job in aviation, but Craig Sinclair can't wait to call The International in Auckland his home.

The director of global aviation recruitment firm Rishworth signed on the dotted line for a three-bedroom apartment in the city's newest and most innovative complex just a day after viewing the showroom.

For he and wife Susan Sinclair, Auckland Art Gallery's head of advancement and sponsorship, it was a no-brainer.

"It just clicked for us," says the business leader, whose wife is currently in New York hosting an A-list audience including former prime minister Helen Clark at an upmarket art fundraiser. "We hadn't been looking particularly hard because we hadn't been able to find anything we were excited about, but we knew this was the one. Everything just fit."

The power couple currently live in Parnell, and with their two sons grown thought it was time to upgrade from the family home. But they loved their central location, and none of the apartments they saw met their high expectations - until The International.


The state-of-the-art "vertical village" is a bespoke apartment complex set to become a landmark of Auckland's leafy art and university district.

Designed by award-winning firm Jasmax, and with the interiors devised by contemporary young interior architect Rufus Knight, the 17-storey, 88-apartment complex is already attracting worldwide interest.

"We really love the environment, the fact it's not in the canyons of the city - it's right on the ridge, in the university precinct. There's a park next door, and the art gallery is right there," Craig says. "We have a corner apartment so there's a conservatory, a fantastic view, and just the quality of the interior design and the thought that has gone into it is breathtaking."

Having a sense of space was also important. "So many apartments feel boxy, but this is massive - ours is 211 square metres, with a three-metre stud," Craig says. "We had a pool at our Parnell home and we thought that might be a real loss, but this has a stunning Japanese garden, an outside area you can really see yourself relaxing in and a pool."

In fact, one of the Sinclair's sons likes the apartment so much he thinks he might like to move in as a "flatmate," Craig laughs. "We'll have to see about that."

The building was once the Grand Hotel, playing host to Queen Elizabeth II. Sanctuary Group developer Gary Groves wanted to preserve this sense of history, while giving the grand old lady a modern makeover. The result is a striking piece of architecture, with its sleek, white exoskeleton, shared luxury amenities and high-ceilinged spaces making the complex competitive on a global scale.

This airy, cosmopolitan feel was what attracted entrepreneur Rebecca Allcock to secure an apartment for her and her family. "I don't think [apartment living] is the conventional way for New Zealanders, but my life has never been conventional anyway," she says. "Most people say 'that's what foreigners do, that's what happens in Asia,' but I do think it's going to be the way of the future and what happens in Auckland."

Mum-of-three Rebecca, 45, is a successful businesswoman, turning her niche children's publishing company Bubble Dome into a multi-million dollar enterprise in less than a decade. She also dabbles in property development, is about to start a traveler accommodation business, and will next year pursue her dream of becoming an artist at Elam School of Fine Arts.

"I'm a serial entrepreneur," she jokes. "For me, it makes sense to be in the city to be closer to everything. The kids have been brought up in suburbia so I thought it would be cool for them to have a whole new lifestyle too.

"We've got a corner apartment with a barbeque area overlooking the swimming pool, and I'm planning lots of walks to the beach so I'm not worried about them being boxed up. The complex has a shared wine cellar, so I'm sure people will meet and connect in new ways and all sorts of business opportunities might come up."

As if The International needed any more of an endorsement, it can be revealed the interior architect himself - award-winning Rufus Knight, fresh from working with minimalist design masters Vincent Van Duysen Architects in Belgium - has purchased his own apartment.

"My motivation was simple; the location and proximity to the central city, waterfront, and Albert Park, and the focus on natural materials and high-quality fittings," Knight says.

Knight designed the sumptuous living spaces using only the best natural timbers and stones, to create a warm, organic feel. At the same time, the spacious apartments are characterized by clean, minimal lines. Knowing how much interest there had been in The International already, Knight decided he didn't want to miss out.

"As a young first-time home-buyer - and unprejudiced with my views on calling an apartment 'home,' having experienced this living abroad - The International presented city living without compromise," Knight says. "I was also drawn to the mix of public and private amenities on the ground floor - concierge, lobby restaurant, gym, pool - that I think add a vitality and real character.

Financially, he considers it a smart move. "With the current state of the market this kind of product comes at a premium, but I'm confident it's investment that I will see return on."

For more information on The International go to www.theinternational.co.nz