Besides creating a unity between place and the product, blending functionality and aesthetics, integrating strict corporate guidelines and providing the necessary workflow, when it comes to car showroom design, the main objective remains the same: to make the car a superstar.
At first glance, car showrooms tend to look alike. Large window displays at the entrance, branding, lighting solutions, reception and lounge areas, supporting facilities for workshops and service centres, handover area and cashier desks are some of the key design elements that we examined in three showrooms, recently completed by Al-Futtaim Interiors.
Lexus’ new home in Ras Al Khaimah is all about showcasing masterpieces the right way. Spanning over 1,500m2, the entire space was designed and built according to the Lexus brand guidelines and is now a benchmark for all upcoming Lexus facilities. The client’s brief was to create a “3S” facility, which has a showroom, a service centre and spare parts centre all in one location and in line with the corporate identity of Lexus.
“Our scope of work included the fit-out of showroom space, back offices, service centre offices, workshop area, turnkey MEP design and installation as well as supply of office furniture,” explain Swabeer Ahmed, key account manager at Al-Futtaim Interiors. “In the showroom area, besides the reception area and customer lounge, a car display area was built to accommodate eight large vehicles with a slightly elevated platform for the ‘hero car’. The showroom also accommodates sales advisors, service advisors, branch and workshop manager, cashier and a café.”
As Ahmed explains, a large space was earmarked for the new car handover area. This is housed in a separate room, with special wall lighting screens creating an ambience to elevate the customer experience.
Service areas are usually hidden, but here customers can actually see what is done with their cars through a glass wall in the customer lounge area.
With an extra-large wall poster showcasing the evolution of Lexus design since 1989 until the present, the service centre has a dedicated car handover area with 10 car service bays.
“The existing flooring was in extremely poor state and to be able to make the flooring strong enough to withstand the pressure of frequent movement of heavy vehicles, the entire existing flooring had to be ripped off. A new layer of heavy duty screed had to be installed to an area of 1.300m2 before the laying of ceramic tiles and epoxy paint and ensuring that this unforeseen activity did not hamper other works on site,” adds Ahmed.
Lexus Pre-Owned car showroom
Al-Futtaim Interiors has delivered a similar design concept for the first Lexus Pre-Owned car showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.
Commenting on the challenges of this specific project, Ahmed says that the entire project had to be conceptualised, designed, executed and handed over, including authority approvals, in a short period of three and a half months as the opening date of the showroom was fixed prior to the awarding of the contract. The primary requirement was to display as many cars as possible in the available space without compromising on the Lexus standards relating to the customer experience.
“Keeping in mind the client’s requirement of displaying a maximum number of cars, the showroom space was optimised by having only the sales advisors, cashier and customer lounge in the ground floor. A movable greeter’s desk was proposed instead of a fully-fledged reception in the showroom and the branch manager’s office, meeting room, prayer room, administrative offices, storage and IT room, are accommodated on the mezzanine floor.”
Chrysler, Dodge & RAM
The Chrysler, Dodge & RAM showroom is located on Mina Zayed road in Abu Dhabi, in a relatively isolated area, so the management wanted a showroom which would have a high visibility and could stand out even from a far distance. Based on that requirement, the external façade was redesigned and the external aluminium cladding was replaced with a 5m-high glass façade and a large main entrance door.
Spanning over 852m2 and with an 8m-high open area with no false ceiling, the showroom has more of an industrial look and feel.
“Getting authority approvals was the biggest task for this project as there were no records of the facility in the government archives nor were there any documents or drawings available with the landlord,” explains Ahmed. “Preparing all the drawings and getting the clearance from authorities to start the project took us a lot of time. However, the project was handed over in time in spite of all initial delays.”
All other requirements like reception, sales advisor desks, manager’s cabins, meeting room, prayer rooms, administrative offices, IT room, back office staff and pantry were seamlessly incorporated into the design and brought to the level of Fiat and Chrysler brand standards.