Located in the highest tower of Tianjin financial center, Raams Architecture Studio has designed the biggest flagship store for the automotive company NIO, the Chinese global start-up designing and developing premium electric and autonomous vehicles.
Walking away from the traditional idea of car showroom, the Spanish architect and founder of Raams, German Roig has collaborated closely with the car company since its beginnings, incorporating in their DNA the idea of belonging where users see vehicles as a lifestyle instead of objects. Working with NIO allowed the studio to research and analyze the future of mobility in our cities and understanding transportation as part of communities.
Tianjin Flagship store is called The House of Houses, the concept design of the showroom draws inspiration from the traditional architecture in China, the Siheyuan, where all the functions are organized around a central element. NIO House is composed of 10 different programs within a continuous space, comprising car display area, NIO life store, forum area, lounge zones, coffee shop, library, meeting rooms and kids playground. At the entrance the foyer divides the store in two main areas, the Gallery to discover the brand vehicles and the Club for NIO members.
Monumental terrazzo walls lead the circulation into the store, a succession of layered-concatenated spaces organize the different functions and give hierarchy with levels of privacy and connections. By the analysis of how the art galleries show their art pieces, the studio applied the same principles to the design of the showroom. Using the architectural layout of museums, walls create a journey for visitors to discover the store and lead people through the different areas, the architects explain.
The material and furniture selection were made carefully to reflect the authenticity and quality of the NIO Brand, the impressive curved glass façade brings light in and merges the interior with the exterior. White continuous terrazzo along the space gives continuity and Douglas fir wood boards bring warmth and comfort into the store. In the gallery area, satin stainless steel walls gives the high-tech feeling which align with NIO innovator spirit. The use of mirror ceiling to expand the visuals in the gallery space, doubling the height of the walls, produces a 360 degrees view of the vehicles, becoming a standard in the design of the brand stores. In the club area the combination of natural materials such wood and fabrics together with the terrazzo creates a relaxing atmosphere. Being one of the iconic elements of the retail store, the studio designed and developed with manufactures a ‘log ceiling’, a curved aluminum profile layered with wood and inspired on the forest cabins where walls and ceiling are made with horizontal logs.
The studio designed for the store unique custom made furniture as well, ‘The Aro’, a big round bench made of Krion by Porcelanosa is created by the architects for the multifunctional area where sharing knowledge and lectures are organized by NIO and the users. The communal wood table in the club area, custom grey rugs, side steel white lacquered tables and ottomans are between others, furniture design by Raams. The pendant lighting chosen to create a pleasant environment in the club area is Italian brand ViaBizzuno, and the fabric selection for the soft furnishing is done by Kvadrat textiles.
User centered, the 2049sqm of the Tianjin Nio House is a space to discover, experience and enjoy for the NIO community.