Aston Martin new Design Studio opens
Aston Martin's new design studio cements the company's reputation as one of the world's most technologically sophisticated sports car manufacturers. Design is one of Aston Martin's core values, and the new Studio, located in a world-class building adjacent to Aston Martin's manufacturing and engineering centre at Gaydon in Great Britain, integrates the process into the heart of the company. "Aston Martin is about design and beauty," says Aston Martin's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, "yet until now it has never had its own design studio."
The elegant modern pavilion, designed by the Weedon Partnership in collaboration with Austrian pre-fabrication specialists Holzbau Saurer, has been built using the latest construction technology and is a showcase for environmentally sustainable design. The architecture is modern and uncompromising, making extensive use of structural wood and large expanses of glass. The modular wooden structure has been sourced from managed forests in Austria and Switzerland. The studio has taken just six months to build and only 12 months to complete from its design conception to realization.Environmental technologies will ultimately include a `green' sedum roof, helping the building integrate into the surrounding landscape as well as providing a high level of insulation. A closed loop vertical ground water system provides heating and cooling, a process that uses only one third of the energy of that used in conventional systems. All floors have underfloor heating and cooling using a low energy `Gravivent' system. The main wooden structure is insulated to a high specification using natural hemp insulation.
Marek Reichman, Aston Martin's RCA-trained Director of Design since 2005 oversees a team including clay modelers, computer modelers, interiors specialists and craftspeople. Reichman describes the new building as "high-tech but human," adding that the materials give the interior warmth. "Wood shifts and moves with time and gains a patina."
The fine interior detailing was personally overseen by Reichman and his team. "You've got the smells, colors and sensations of Aston Martin around you," he explains, pointing out the high quality woods, art work, stainless steel, travertine marble and designer work spaces. Everything contributes to an immersive sensory environment, mirroring the experience of the cars themselves. The public foyer has been designed as both a gallery and a VIP area for launches and private viewings, complete with a Bang and Olufsen projection and speaker system.The past decade has seen Aston Martin's engineering division grow from 30 people to 300. The Design Studio will provide a similar boost to the integration of the design process into the company. "In the past, the most wonderful cars came from Italian design houses," explains Dr Bez.
Bring these skills in-house, with their own dedicated facility, has placed Aston Martin in a position of considerable strength. "Finally, we own our design," says Dr Bez. "Even though we have incredible craftsmanship skills, without design intelligence we cannot use those skills to their best advantage," says Bez.The 2700m2 studio provides space for the design team, color development work and a specialist trimmer.
One side of the new building is faced entirely in glass, braced with glass beams, to help maximize the feeling of transparency, flooding the studio floor with natural light. Flush light fittings provide hidden ambient light, supplemented and enhanced by the custom and highly adjustable 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 says, "so the building design takes this into account." There are also 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 hand-laid stone wall.
"The new Design Studio is a commitment from the new shareholders to show how important the design of new models is to the company's future," says Dr Bez, "It also demonstrates the pace at which the company is capable of moving and brings one of our core competencies to Gaydon for the first time. From conception to realization in just 12 months is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved."