While the showroom is still definitely a car dealership, Tesla’s flagship store is more like a sculpture gallery with a simple, yet bold interior. Bright red walls are complimented by concrete floors and driving lane floor lights. Striking modern artwork sets the stage for the roadsters, just like it was in a model shoot. A wooden truss ceiling can be lit up with blue lights for an even more electric feel.
As part of the showroom on Santa Monica Blvd, Tesla’s garage and service area is unified with the building, allowing customers to watch the work in progress from inside or even just on the street. Tesla wanted to make the service area totally transparent to show people how different electric cars are from regular ones. With no noise, zero emissions, and no spilled gasoline, the service area is pristine like an open kitchen in a five star restaurant.
CCS Architecture, who is known for their work designing restaurants and high end residences, rehabilitated two older buildings in the Westwood neighborhood to create the Tesla showroom back in 2008. Many materials from the original buildings were reused and updated with energy and water efficient systems and fixtures to create an eco friendly showroom to compliment the clean vehicles.
Skylights in the roof bring in natural daylight, and the roof has a highly reflective coating to reduce heat gain as well as above code foam insulation. Water efficient fixtures decrease water usage and efficient fluorescent lighting lights up the service areas. Energy efficient heating and cooling systems are assisted with passive cooling through cross ventilation. And while the managers had hoped to install a photovoltaic system on the roof, the building is sadly shaded too much by surrounding taller buildings.
Cass Smith of CCS Architecture commented about the showroom, “The cars are beautiful, so the showroom is set up to be a boutique experience, where the intended rawness of the space counterpoints the sleek refinement of the cars. It’s like sculpture in a gallery.”
Images ©Eric Laignel