Car showroom with a difference – there can be only one

Less is definitely more with the brave decision by GWD Lexus to build a one-car showroom on a high-profile site in Queenstown.

Designed by Anna-Marie Chin Architects

Arrowtown-based Anna-Marie Chin Architects responded to the unique brief from GWD Lexus of Queenstown for a single car showroom by creating a sharp-edged building that mimics the jagged rocky peaks of The Remarkables in the background.


“We created a building that could respond to the vehicle inside and reflect the surrounding environment with its harsh landscape of flinty greys, sharp lines, and ice.”

Paul Taylor

Like a jeweller’s display case, the glass and metal structure focuses attention on the vehicle inside. The Lexus is easily seen from vehicles travelling around an adjacent roundabout.

The building materials also reflect the styling of the new Lexus range. Its highly textured surface is similar to the mesh of the Lexus grill.

Anna-Marie Chin says GWD Lexus had set a great challenge for her practice and they had responded by treating the building as a marketing tool as well as a functional showroom.

The building materials also reflect the styling of architecture, building, concrete, facade, house, gray
The building materials also reflect the styling of the new Lexus range. Its highly textured surface is similar to the mesh of the Lexus grill.

The building has strong Lexus branding but with minimal signage, in fact as part of the design, the traditional Lexus signage and logo were split.

“The building is the sign. Lexus was very supportive of our proposal. It’s a less is more philosophy. Curiosity in the building will attract people in.”

Once inside, visitors quickly realise that Lexus of Queenstown is not a conventional car showroom either.

Inside, there is just room for a Lexus and a small lounge where customers can chat in private with a Lexus sales representative.

“It’s a different way of displaying cars. The roof opens up, it’s not a static space,” said Chin.

The one-car showroom space is equally sculptural on architecture, building, ceiling, daylighting, floor, furniture, house, interior design, property, roof, room, shade, wall, gray
The one-car showroom space is equally sculptural on the inside.

"The platform for the vehicles sits in a gallery like space and the lounge has a warmer more intimate feel, a bit like a club lounge.”

The main structure was built off-site in Invercargill and then trucked to Queenstown for installation, where the external and internal finishing was completed.

“We wanted to minimise disruption to the rest of the site,” said Chin. “It was also designed to be moved in the future if necessary.”

Glen Rutherford, CEO of GWD Lexus of Queenstown, said the company wanted to do something extraordinary and provide clients with a visually pleasing experience that reflected the start of the customer journey with Lexus.

Lexus New Zealand’s General Manager of Marketing, Andrew Davis, said the physical establishment of the brand in Queenstown region was paying off for Lexus, which has continued to enjoy sales growth across the country.

This sharp angled showroom featuring just one Lexus won the Commercial building category at the recent New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Awards.

Jul 01, 2019
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