Luxury carmaker and ultimate ‘cool’ brand Aston Martin has stepped up a gear with the launch of its first standalone design studio, which is adjacent to its manufacturing centre in Gaydon in Warwickshire. Designed by the Weedon Partnership in collaboration with Austrian pre-fabrication specialist Holzbau Saurer, the modern pavilion aims to be a showcase for environmentally sustainable design.
Making extensive use of structural wood and large expanses of glass, the studio has taken just 12 months to complete from design conception to realisation.
Environmental designs include a ‘Green’ roof and a closed-loop vertical ground water system, while the floors have underfloor heating and cooling. Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s director of design, supervised the interior detailing. He describes the building as ‘hi-tech but human’. ‘You’ve got the smells, colours and sensations of Aston Martin around you. Everything contributes to an immersive sensory environment, mirroring the experience of the cars themselves,’ he says.
The public foyer has been designed for use as both a gallery and a VIP area for launches and private viewings, complete with a Bang & Olufsen projection and speaker system. The B&O installation ties in with the announcement last week that Aston Martin has forged a strategic partnership with the audio company, which will lead to further link-ups in the future for the carmaker.
The 2700m2 design studio will provide a boost to the integration of the design process into the company, as well as space for the design team, colour development work and a specialist trimmer.
One side of the new building is faced entirely in glass (pictured, left and right), braced with glass beams, flooding the studio floor with natural light. Light fittings provide ‘hidden’ light, enhanced by the lighting rigs used to develop the clay surfaces.
‘A studio has to have the ability to allow you to view the cars from all angles’, Reichman adds, ‘so the building design
takes this into account.’ Additionally, there are five full-size ‘plates’ on the studio floor for the creation of full-scale models, along with a viewing garden, screened from the rest of the facility by a stone wall.
‘Finally, we own design,’ says Aston Martin chief executive Dr Ulrich Bez. ‘To build something that is beautifully designed, the key is to have the intelligence to do these things and not just have craft skills. You have to have them both. If we don’t design it properly then we cannot build it.’
A MODEL FACTORY
• The Gaydon factory manu – factures the recently unveiled DBS, V8 Vantage, V8 Vantage Roadster, DB9 and DB9 Volante models
• At the opening of the studio last week, chief executive Dr Ulrich Bez launched the latest model, the V12 Vantage RS
• Aston Martin was sold by Ford to a private consortium earlier this year for £479m