«On the road» interiors
Zdravko Sarapa (Forma Biro)
Car manufacturers’ communication strategies have always considered architecture as a favoured medium. In perhaps the most famous case, Citroën’s founder created the eponymous architectural style that for many years characterised imposing yet lightweight modern buildings. These new buildings allowed greater visibility of cars, using large glass and steel surfaces and furnishings with a wealth of details and elegant accessories. Recently constructed symbolic buildings (such as the BMW Welt in Munich designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au and the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart, designed by UNStudio) are both authentic architectural icons and ideal cities for the futuristic models that they showcase.
For many years now, car manufacturers have attached great importance to the communicative value of the architecture used for the new points of sale built in many European cities in accordance with criteria of coordinated brand images.
One such example is that of Toyota, which has characterised many of its showrooms with the formal brand elements created by the Shigeru Iwakiri design team, which also created the new TMI image manual. The new coordinated image has the precise aim of conveying the innovative vision of the car manufacturer, which has achieved outstanding levels of excellence in the world market with its hybrid-powered vehicles and is one of the most determined of the major car makers in carrying through technological research into the use of alternative energy sources in the automotive sector.
The new Toyota dealership in Zagreb, designed by Zdravko Sarapa from the Forma Biro firm in full compliance with the group philosophy, incorporates of a collection of functional modern spaces laid out on two levels.
The façade of the steel and glass building, built with a lightweight and transparent system, allows full visibility of the showroom with a harmonious balance between natural and artificial lighting. The large glass-panelled surface allows natural light to enter and filter through to all the rooms.
On the ground floor, customers are received in the large showroom and sales assistance area, which offers a pleasant sensation of a living space, reinforced by the total white of the walls and the use of finishings with warm colours. A desk island at the centre of the showroom is the first stop for visitors requiring information. The showroom floors are covered entirely by ivory coloured porcelain tiles from Ceramica Sant’Agostino.
This type of covering material, consisting of large-format tiles with high technical performance characteristics, is ideal for use in public and working spaces as their aesthetic qualities are consistent with the latest design trends.
The second floor where the offices are located juts out over the showroom via a balcony with a balustrade consisting of slender steel elements. Its curved profile allows the scale of the showroom space to be taken in at a single glance.
The construction and visual elements of the building and the interior decoration finishes are part of a concept that combines the comfort of a fashionable interior with the minimalist structure of the building’s shell.