Snøhetta has designed a new production facility for the electric performance car producer, Polestar. Located in Chengdu, China, the edifice will function as a production facility as well as a touchpoint for both customers and visitors.
The focus of the design has been to create a production facility that is bright, spacious, and open for everyone. The building is built around environmentally friendly solutions, providing great outdoor spaces and allowing generous amounts of daylight to enter the building.
Central to the building is a glazed atrium that visually ties the different spaces together, acting as a shared courtyard with the aim of connecting all employees under one roof. Working in open shared workspaces enables dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experience across departments. The intention of increased collaboration is further emphasized with a common front garden, creating shared outdoor spaces, daylight qualities and views for everyone.
The design is based on an interaction scheme which gathers the researchers, producers and designers in one place to bring together workers, administration, leadership, customers, clients and visitors to create a feeling of openness and inclusion. Being within such close proximity to each other, this stimulates interaction and collaboration across disciplines. This new headquarter aims to enable new ways to align creative visionary processes with technical production requirements, and the layout sets a new standard for inclusive fabrication facilities.
The building is characterized by a curved shape. The curve as an element acts as a structuring gesture, creating associations to the movement and dynamics of the car industry and car racing, tying the landscape and the building together. The building curves out of the main factory volume to create areas for offices, canteens and a visitor center. Vertically, the curved façade lifts to accentuate the building’s entrances.
A distinct feature for the factory is the visitor center. Upon entering the facility, the guests can experience Polestar’s “visitor loop”, walking along the mezzanine where you get a view of the whole factory, the different departments and ongoing exhibitions. The visitor loop is intended for anything from potential customers, companies and students who are intrigued to learn more about Polestar.
The interior spaces are dominated by a light and clean color palette to resemble a car manufacturing laboratory that is focused on technology and production. An exterior black steel shell contrasts the luminous interiors, giving the building a distinct character in the surrounding landscape.
In the production area, large windows have been installed to create a view of the surrounding greenery, and to allow maximal use of daylight. Meeting spaces have been created both inside and outside the building to encourage social engagement across disciplines, and simultaneously utilizing the building’s surrounding green spaces. This does not only create connectivity, but helps fostering innovation by allowing the sharing of information and ideas across departments.
Located in Chengdu’s suburbia, most of Polestar’s employees are transported to work by buses from pick-up points from around the city, unless driving or cycling themselves. Parking spaces for both bicycles and electric vehicles have been installed, as well as energy-efficient solutions to ventilation, drainage and use of water. A strong emphasis has been placed on creating inviting communal areas for the employees, using robust and durable materials with great longevity, such as steel, stainless steel and concrete.
The performance line, designed as anodized aluminum structures or elegant strips of light, creates spaces within the space, guiding people through the factory. The production facility includes a customer experience center, staffed by product experts, as well as a customer test track, designed by Snøhetta in collaboration with engineers from Volvo, constructed within the campus to enable potential customers to evaluate the car to the extremes not possible on public roads.