PM opens South Island's largest creative office space

Christchurch’s central city now has the South Island’s largest creative office space and the new home of award-winning agency Plato Creative.

Prime Minister John Key today officially opened the purpose-built, multi-million dollar studio at 63 Manchester Street.

The project is a joint venture between business owners John and Lisa Plato and Canterbury Property Investments (CPI), signalling Plato’s long-term financial commitment to Christchurch and to be a crucial and visible part of the central city rebuild.

“We did a lot of research on creative spaces internationally and the finished product is very different to what you would see anywhere else in New Zealand,” says John Plato.

Miles Yeoman and Craig Newbury of CPI are well-known for their post-earthquake developments – including the new Warren and Mahoney building and their recent purchase of the former Press site.

Plato’s new leading-edge workspace is on the edge of the city’s innovation precinct. It features a theatre-room with stadium seating for training seminars and presentations, specialised ‘think rooms’ for staff, and collaborative spaces which can be used by clients for board and sales meetings.

Attracting and retaining talent was one of the main driving forces behind the new venture.

“Our goal was to create an innovative and unique environment that reinforced our strong staff culture by making it an exciting place to work,” says Plato. 

“We also wanted to make sure our clients could have access to an inner-city space.”

Plato’s team of 37 creatives moved into the new studio on 1 July. It will herald a new start for the firm which experienced upheaval and challenges following the 2011 earthquakes. 

In the past five years the business has moved three times.

“This is our home for good, and we are looking forward to being in the central city and sitting alongside some really exciting developments in the new innovation precinct,” says Plato.
The integrated creative services agency has experienced rapid growth since it was established in 2007. Revenue has grown significantly year on year, and the business is actively seeking new staff to meet increased demand.

Plato was named the fastest growing business in Canterbury and the upper South Island in the ‘service-based business’ category of the Deloitte Fast 50 index in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist (John Plato), Women of Influence Awards finalist (Lisa Plato) and various design awards are included among Plato’s growing list of high-profile accolades.

The firm has a diverse client base including several key accounts in construction, agriculture, professional services and hospitality. Ninety-percent of its clients are based in the South Island, with the remainder in Auckland and a select few in Australia.