Car shops, formerly the prime sales venue for cars, are no longer the exclusive setting in which cars are branded and presented to customers. Multichannel points of sales enable customers to choose between brands and models before entering the car shop; as a result, 90% of the customers who visit a car store have already chosen a model in advance. Under the pressure of the increased fragmentation of sales and in response to changing consumer habits, the automotive retail store has increasingly turned into a space for marketing and visual branding. This is reflected in the design of the retail space: the ubiquitous vitrine typology has created a mish-mash of brands and product.
Designing a store for luxury automotive brand Genesis in Seoul, Korea, led AMO to question the relevance of the automotive retail space as sales environment, and to explore its further potentials. The Genesis Space Identity concept developed by AMO revisits the conventional norm of dealership in the automotive industry. More than an overt sales and display environment, AMO created a store design in which there is a subtler unpacking of Genesis’ message. Following AMO’s research into the interaction between architecture and branding, Genesis Gangnam Store treats car display as curation, breaking away with the commonplace practice of showing as many models as possible. To emphasize the design and craftsmanship of the car, the models on display are placed against a neutral backdrop of grey concrete and lit from above by a bright ceiling.
Typically, the design of an automotive retail space includes large window shops that disclose the interior in one glance. By contrast, the Genesis Space is a space of gradual discovery, enhanced by the selection of a muted palette of colors and materials for its interior design. Furthermore, to mute the distracting presence of sales activities, the purchasing process is placed in a sequence of independent rooms. Furniture is blended into the separate rooms by using the same color and material as the space.
For its design of the Genesis Gangnam Store, AMO re-visited the conventional norm of dealership in automotive industry. The store is designed to be attentive to visitors’ needs and provide them with an authentic, analogue experience that cannot be substituted with digital technology. The design of the Genesis Gangnam Store has resulted in a set of guidelines for a global roll out strategy; the Genesis Gangnam store in Seoul will be the first application of a new automotive retail concept.