Royal Car Showroom - San Marino

When a showroom design is inspired by the products on display

A unique metal cladding envelops a luxury multi-level car showroom
Santino Limonta
Studio di Architettura Valentini
Year of completion

When driving along the highway that connects Rimini with San Marino, one cannot help but notice a building with a unique functional and stylistic structure. Its most distinctive and unusual aspect is the perforated metal cladding that envelops much of the edifice, which was specially designed to accommodate a multi-level car showroom. “The choice of this exterior finish has a dual function,” explained the designer, architect Roberta Valentini. “The metal evokes the world of cars while at the same time giving the building a highly distinctive look. It emphasises its form without obstructing the large windows which allow people to look in from outside at the vehicles on display while offering unique views of the landscape from inside. The cladding also has an important sunscreen function. The purpose-designed pattern of holes is never repetitive and creates a powerful sense of movement, another characteristic typically associated with the world of cars. This sensation is further heightened at night when the light diffuses through the holes in the metal sheet and creates the impression of weightlessness.” Visitors are particularly fascinated by the upper-floor showroom and the intriguing car lift on the rear façade of the building used to move the cars up and down between floors. Distinctly dark shades were chosen as the background colour. Warm grey tones dominate and are used on the exterior cladding, the floors, the ceilings and a portion of the walls. “Beyond purely aesthetic considerations, this background focuses attention on the displayed vehicles, which are further illuminated by the directional spotlights,” commented the architect. “The showroom’s general lighting consists of a network of linear lamps that intertwine in different directions and break up the sensation of rigour of the interior space as a whole.” In contrast, notes of bright colour are strategically incorporated into some of the furnishings and construction elements. “Ferrari red” is used for a number of details such as the resin used to clad the stunning internal staircase, with its reinforced concrete cantilevered structure and open risers. This clearly visible structural element lends architectural continuity to the building’s three showroom levels located on the lower, ground and first floors. There is also a basement used for preparing cars and an attic floor for residential use. The interiors of the three showroom floors are large open-plan spaces free from structural elements or dividing walls, a design choice that accentuates their size and brightness. Only when strictly needed, glass partitions were used to allow people to look out onto the surrounding landscape from any point inside the building. The showroom also has a more secluded lounge area and a space set up for screening videos. An important contribution to the success of the project came from the 45×90 cm large-size porcelain tiles from Panaria Ceramica that were used for the interior floors and exterior pavings in a 20 mm thickness, a solution suitable for floating floor installation and vehicular areas that met the requisite technical and aesthetic specifications. The chosen material was the Glance contemporary concrete-effect collection in the dark colour Coal, which lends stylistic continuity to the interiors and exteriors and guarantees a high level of chemical resistance coupled with high breaking strength, an important criterion for a location subject to frequent transit by cars.

Panaria, Glance
porcelain stoneware
45x90 cm
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): LA, HA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): 145mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 (NATURALE) R11 (STRUTTURATO, 20mm)
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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