Modern functionality for car showrooms
The historic image of the automobile is one of modernity and potential, of comfort and sport, of a machine that fulfils an enormous range of requirements. Still today it is imbued with a wealth of meanings, ranging from utilitarian objects though to luxury consumer items that meet more immaterial needs relating to social status. Car showrooms generally exert less appeal, although this depends on the type of vehicle they sell and the prestige and value of the brands they represent. Multibrand spaces for example bear a greater resemblance to convenience stores stocking everyday objects. However, as part of a strategy for winning customers and achieving greater coverage of the market, carmakers also devote considerable attention to these spaces. They too must reflect the image of modern complexity associated with the automobile as a machine that has contributed radically to changing lifestyles, relationships and the urban fabric – while at the same time creating ever more severe problems in terms of pollution, usage of urban space and construction and use of road infrastructures. Functionality and design are important aspects for car dealerships: the spaces must be clearly and rationally organised to facilitate presentation, they must have an effective lighting design, and the free spatial layout must contain points that provide information and capture visitors’ attention, showing off product ranges and new models. In the Hyundai dealerships in Germany – exemplified by the Ranaldi dealership in the Rhineland city of Wiesloch – the functional elements are incorporated into a standard procedure that brings together the recommendations and technical specifications requested by the car manufacturer: the simplified space, dotted with columns, is dominated by standardised elements such as the modular false ceiling that houses the lighting fixtures. The tone is decidedly Spartan and no-frills, creating a programmatically restrained space where the visitor’s gaze travels over the cars and takes in the range of colours that enliven the showroom (both of the cars themselves and the info panels). The light flooding in through the full-height glazing is complemented by the artificial light from the false ceiling. For the floor covering, the choice of porcelain tile meets technical and aesthetic requirements.
The material’s guaranteed durability makes it suitable for use in a high foot traffic area where the additional presence of motor vehicles must not result in rapid wear. The pleasant visual and tactile qualities of the tiles, the advanced technology of the production process and the performance characteristics offer an implicit analogy with the technical and symbolic world of cars. Porcelain tile is a versatile and elegant material that combines elements of ceramic tradition with the onward march of modernity. It is a material for which technical innovations are part of an constant drive towards speed and efficiency – as in the case of the installation systems adopted for ClipTile from Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola.
Cooperativa Ceramica d'Imola, ClipTile
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA, UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 0,05%
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): R > 50 N/mm²
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant