ELECTRIC RACE CAR WORKSHOP
Race forward workshop with local edge
The project is a work space for a young electric vehicle startup, XING Mobility, combining office, automotive garage, engineering workshop and showroom functions in a vast 650sqm previous furniture warehouse. With just 8 weeks for design and construction on a shoe-string budget, XRANGE’s design concept defies convention by defining the auto workshop as a cross between a tech firm, an art gallery, a maker lab and a race car garage, accented with unique details inspired by driving and cars. The design celebrates the noise-free, pollution-free and odour-free nature of electric car-manufacturing, attributes that would be unimaginable with combustion-engined cars.
Filtered thorough a huge set of see-through garage doors, the industrial surroundings of the neighbourhood take on a calming quality against the crisps white walls and slick black worktops of the light-filled interior. Throughout the space, gritty, repurposed common materials that are reinterpreted as design elements sit alongside futuristic electric cars with parts fabricated from carbon fiber and precision engineered grade 5 titanium, the like of which is used by Swiss luxury watch makers.
Taking inspiration from the startup’s Taiwanese roots, pervasive local car and road elements are worked into unique design details throughout the space. White traffic reflector sheeting clad enormous sliding doors, while a rolling wall partition of yellow traffic reflectors sit between the lobby and coffee bar. Custom polyester “fringes” lining the boardroom ceiling act as a reinterpretation of the tawdry yet ubiquitous fringe netting used in Taiwanese parking lots and gas stations for sun shading. Arrow signs line the lobby in a Warholian array, under which pistons of spent petroleum engines are displayed as reminders of a greasy past. The reception desk is reworked from discarded steel chassis plates; and in the bathroom, large clusters of truck rear-view mirrors are repurposed as vanity mirrors.
The open plan design accommodates the need for the seamlessly integrated design, testing and engineering, functions, requiring mobile work stations for maximum adaptability. Four distinct bays can be cordoned off by a camouflage fabric wall, custom-designed in the client’s signature blue, serving to obscure sensitive information while simultaneously forming the backdrop to the central “hero car” show area.
Under a quirkily oversized planter of tropical greenery, the coffee bar establishes an informal collaborative space. And of course, at its center, a continuous rotation of the client’s electric bikes, classic racing and sports-purpose vehicles form an indispensable part of the “furniture”.
scope: planning and interior design
client: XING Mobility
site: Neihu, Taipei
total floor area: 650 sqm
design: March 2016
construction: completion 2016