Bringing the intangibles of luxury to life

In a yet-to-be-revealed location in Auckland’s leafy Parnell, planning for New Zealand’s most luxurious apartment development is well under way and there’s arguably no one more qualified at delivering it than Martin Cooper of Experiences by Coopers and Mike Sullivan of Countrywide Residences.

Every possible detail is scrutinised. Exquisite hand-crafted glassware will be used in private dining and bar areas.

It is to be expected that a property developer speaks with excitement when discussing their latest project. But Martin Cooper adds another layer still when he talks about his forthcoming apartment  proposition.

It’s plain to see he is genuinely honoured to have this opportunity.

“This is such a special site that affords us the luxury of being able to create something world-class,” he says.

“This is an opportunity we feel privileged to have and we don’t want to squander it.” Further details will be revealed later in the year. But 66 Magazine is able to get a few early insights from Martin and the select group of people working on what will prove to be a very special project.

Given the scarcity of land in Central Auckland warranting this level of luxury, Martin says the project will herald a new understanding of luxury apartment living in New Zealand. What can be revealed is that the development of just 27 residences (including two penthouses) will be exclusive and enduring: synonymous with its sought after Parnell surrounds, it will celebrate all that is special about this desired postcode.

We’re drawing on inspiration from the most exclusive addresses in New York, London,

Sydney and Melbourne,” he says. But it’s defining luxury in the context of this project where Martin’s thought process deepens. The project team must ultimately select furnishings and balance a budget, but that isn’t stopping Martin and his team on focussing – at fastidiously granular levels – on what they’re calling the ‘intangibles of luxury’. There is no luxury for instance, like the luxury of choice, of time, space, of happiness.

It’s a very intriguing, metaphysical way of looking at things. So, how do you ‘bake in’ luxury, beyond selecting high end furnishings and materials?

One aspects of this approach is putting how people prefer to move through and utilise spaces under the microscope. To ensure the apartment kitchen and dining environments are as well thought out as possible, the team turned to Des Harris, former Executive Chef of Auckland’s beloved Clooney restaurant and Gaggenau appliance ambassador.

Every cooking and refrigeration appliance in the building will be provided by Gagganau.

Des explains how he is helping shape not only the apartment kitchens, but also the private dining lounge the building will offer.

“Functionality is super important. The geometry of the kitchen space and how it should work needs to be at its optimum,” he says. “It’s exciting to help Martin and his team with the design concept for this project.

They are dedicated to creating not just a great looking kitchen, but one that works from a cooking and dining point of view.”

“Anyone can give you the most expensive oven or the most expensive benchtop” adds Martin. “But have they actually thought about how you’ll use that space? What kind of ovens are required? Are we giving you one, or four ovens, as is the case in six of our apartments?”

Beyond the apartments themselves, the building’s private dining concept promises something extra special. Martin says this residence will ultimately appeal to people who have the luxury to dine at the finest restaurants in the world. Thus, the onsite amenities available to residents must be consistent.

“This special space must work for residents who can use it to entertain or even book a chef like Des to come and create a truly world class experience. But it also must be functional for the chef and service. We asked Des to outline his ideal kitchen and private dining concept, and this is what we will be delivering.”

No detail has been overlooked, from the plates and cutlery to the finest hand-blown wine glasses from Jancis Robinson and stunning tumblers from Richard Brendon.

That focus on experience will carry through to a planned private bar, where residents can retreat to watch a game, enjoy cocktails with friends, or indulge in a professionally guided wine tasting.

Martin says that no area of the project will be “run-of-the-mill”. By placing the primary focus on experience and interaction with the environment, the shape of every conceivable aspect of the building can change from the norm – even the carparking.

Taking inspiration from beautiful car showrooms, the building’s carpark will cater to vehicle enthusiasts, offering multiple spaces all of which will be 15% larger than traditional car park spaces.

The garage space will also be lit to showcase the vehicles; if a resident has something unique in their collection, they have the option to present and protect it behind glass. One of Auckland’s leading car detailers is collaborating with Martin’s team to provide a professional quality grooming bay onsite so resident’s vehicles can be cleaned to the highest standard.

Between Martin and business partner, Mike Sullivan, who also oversees construction partner, Clearwater Construction, there’s a wealth of experience behind the scenes ensuring this project is executed perfectly.

Every project presents new challenges and opportunities, but at the core of that process is understanding how people live, what is meaningful to them and providing an experience that delivers in ways that feel natural, personal and enduring.

“Above all, the right answer matters most, and the first answer isn’t always going to be the right one,” he says. “Both mine and Mike’s teams collaborate and put a lot of pressure on ourselves upfront to get everything right before breaking ground. Having a cohesive relationship with the construction partner, like the one Mike and I have forged through years of working together, is absolutely critical for a luxury project like this.”

It’s a painstaking process that may see Martin and his team spend four or five hours just discussing a dining space, returning to the drawing board, seeking collaborative input, and ensuring every area speaks to the guiding principles of luxury they’re looking to imbed.

But it’s these challenges and finding the most elegant and well-thought-out solutions that really drive Martin and his team.

“We regularly remind ourselves to enjoy this journey. An opportunity to create something of this calibre – something that pays homage to the special location and the views it will present – might only come along once in a decade. But the site is that amazing, that it’s enabling us this unique opportunity to provide all these luxuries. This is a very special project.”


This project will officially launch in November 2021.

You can learn more and register your interest at

66 Magazine will present further details in forthcoming issues

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