African safaris to prison cells: Gull service station spruces up its restrooms with themes

If horror films are anything to go by, then the restrooms of petrol stations aren’t necessarily the best place to visit—not so much because of the boogeymen lurking in the shadows, but more so because thought of bringing bare buttocks into contact with the toilet seat is genuinely terrifying.

So, in an effort to make the pitstop experience slightly more enjoyable, independently owned fuel chain Gull has refurbished 14 of its petrol stations, giving them themes that would be more congruent with a quirky hotel than a petrol station. 

Since October 2013, Auckland design company Amplifier has been working with Gull to give each bathroom a unique look and feel.  

“As a team we took cues from the location, environment and the local community of each site to create a visual that was both surprising and a perfect fit with the area,” says Amplifier’s creative director Sean O’Brien, Creative Director, Amplifier.

This approach has resulted in an Eden Park locker room theme at the Kingsland site, an Outrageous Fortune theme for West Auckland’s Swanson, a bohemian theme for Titirangi’s Portage Road station and quite fittingly an African safari theme for the Gull Site on Greville Road in the North Shore. 

“We wanted to delight our customers when they walked into our restrooms, and challenge Kiwis’ perceptions of service station bathrooms,” says Gull New Zealand commercial manager Ulrik Olsen.  “A regular pitstop on every journey, the locally inspired designs are a great way to give travellers an insight into the local community.” 

At a time when petrol stations have little point of difference beyond the number of cents they’re offering off fuel, this move could potentially see motorists opting for the Gull emblem when they’re on their holiday road trips in the hope of experiencing a different kind of bathroom.   

And Gull isn’t stopping with these 14 sites, because the service station already announced plans to renovate a further eight bathrooms across the country. 

Completed sites:

  • Kingsland (Central Auckland): Eden Park rugby locker room
  • Albany (North Shore): Scuba diving trip
  • Greville Road (North Shore): African safari
  • Swanson (West Auckland): Outrageous Fortune
  • Mt Maunganui: Young beach/surfing environment
  • Henderson Valley: A trip to Piha
  • Portage Road (Titarangi): Bohemian
  • Landings (Whakatane): Fresh Water Fishing
  • Te Ngae (Rotorua): Lake House
  • Lake Road (Rotorua): Historical
  • Rosscommon (South Auckland): Samoa
  • Sel Peacock (West Auckland): Police Office/Cells
  • Whangarei: Wharf / Yacht / Port Knights
  • Thames: Kiwi Batch Theme

Upcoming renovations:

  • Rosebank Road
  • Rosebank Roundabout
  • Takanini
  • Otara
  • Dannemora

Followed by lower North Island sites (with further sites to be confirmed):

  • Napier
  • Hastings
  • Palmerston North

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