Aston Martin’s design studio is the company’s first stand-alone design facility and took just six months to build and only twelve months to complete from its design conception to realisation.
The elegant modern pavilion was built using the very latest construction technology and is a showcase for environmentally sustainable design. Providing a tailor-made space for the Aston Martin design team, the facility stands adjacent to Aston Martin’s headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
The Design Studio will strengthen the bond between engineering and design, ensuring tomorrow’s Aston Martin cars honour the company’s heritage while continuing to push new boundaries.
British designers Weedon Partnership, the practice responsible for designing the award-winning headquarters and production facility at Gaydon, were able to create an immersive sensory environment that mirrors the experience and sensation of an Aston Martin.
The 2700m² building represents a complex interplay between space, light, transparency and security. One side of the building is faced entirely in glass, braced with glass beams, to help maximise the feeling of transparency and flooding the studio floor with natural light which is paramount to the designers. At the same time, flush light fittings provide hidden, ambient light, supplemented and enhanced by the customised and highly adjustable lighting rigs used to develop the clay surfaces.
The studio floor is equipped with five full-size ‘plates’ that enable designs to be worked on ergonomically, while also offering the studio the opportunity to retain and develop designs for longer. The public foyer area has been designed to be used as both a gallery and a VIP area for launches and private viewings and is equipped with the latest audio visual technology with theatre sound, lighting and an integrated turntable for presentations.
Crucially, the studio also houses an external viewing garden, an essential but secretive space that’s used to see the effect of natural daylight on models. The viewing garden is screened from the rest of the facility by a hand laid stone wall, landscaping and water features. Aston Martin has become synonymous with design excellence, and the design studio provides a fitting environment for the development of the next generation of production cars.
Future of Design
A very special culture makes Aston Martin unique. It embraces the tension between creativity and manufacturing discipline; between technical vision and creative enthusiasm – inspirational opposites. The marque is shaped through the ideas and vision of its designers and engineers who are united by a common goal and a common spirit: to build the most prestigious sports cars.
The Gaydon factory manufactures the recently unveiled flagship Vanquish, Vanquish Volante, Rapide S, V8 Vantage, V8 Vantage Roadster, V12 Vantage S, DB9 and DB9 Volante Models.
Dr Ulrich Bez, Chief Executive Officer, said at its opening in 2007: “The studio marks another crucial point in Aston Martin’s history. The investment is a commitment from the shareholders of how important the design of new models is to the company’s future”.
The studio was built by Austrian company Holzbau Saurer – a company with long experience of modular wooden structures to extremely high degrees of accuracy and craftsmanship. The studio's construction methods offer a number of advantages, not least the fact that the building is highly sustainable, even when transportation costs from the Austrian factory are taken into account..
The façade and flooring feature 30 cubic metres of oak from the Bodensee region of Switzerland, coupled with 473 cubic metres of Austrian spruce in the beams, wall construction, ceiling and roof. Remarkably, this amount of spruce represents just 9 minutes growth in Austria’s extensive and highly managed forests. The extensive use of wood is coupled with other highly efficient environmental technologies, including a ‘green’ sedum roof, which helps the building integrate into the surrounding landscape and provides a high level of insulation, reducing energy requirements.
The studios cooling and heating system uses a closed loop vertical ground water system. This incorporates 30 bore holes each 100m deep and has more than 12km of underground pipework. A heat pump is used to convert cold water from the naturally cooled ground water pipes into heat. This process uses only one third of the energy to heat the building compared to conventional systems.
All floors have underfloor heating and cooling using a low energy ‘gravivent’ system. The main wooden structure is insulated to a high specification using natural hemp insulation.
20 facts you didn't know about the Design Studio
- The building was built by Austrian company Holzbau Saurer, incorporating the best of Austrian woodworking knowledge and experience
- The main structure which comprises almost 500m3 of laminated spruce and 30m3 of oak is all farmed from a managed sustainable forest in Austria
- The spruce used is replenished in only nine minutes
- Window frames, door and external cladding is all seasoned Oak from forests in Switzerland
- The building is insulated to a very high level beyond UK building requirements and uses only natural hemp material for wall insulation
- In Spring 2008 a sedum roof will be planted. This is a plant which grows slowly and needs only periodic cutting. This helps with drainage and insulation thus reducing energy requirements
- The space includes an external design garden with natural stone walling to enable designs to be viewed securely in natural light settings
- The cooling system uses a gravity system built into the wall cavities
- All floors have underfloor heating for the most efficient provision of uniform heat throughout the space
- The building cooling and heating is achieved by using a vertical closed loop ground water system and heatpump with thirty 100m deep bore holes
- There is a total of over 7.5 miles of pipework with four pipes in each bore hole
- This provides three to four times more heating or cooling than the cost of electricity used and requires little maintenance
- The design showroom is equipped with the latest Bang & Olufsen audio visual technology with theatre sound, lighting and integrated turntable for presentations
- Vehicle lifts in the plates enable designs to be worked on ergonomically
- Three axis milling machines are situated in the studio to mill and verify full size model surfaces
- The design studio is multi functional with secure zones for presentations and conferencing
- The travertine marble reception area features skyframe doors that slide open to create a usable inside/outside space for natural light viewing
- A galleried area in the studio enables designs to be viewed from every angle
- The building was designed by Weedon Partnership, the Birmingham-based architects responsible for designing the award-winning Aston Martin headquarters and production facility
- The studio is 65% more energy-efficient than a building using a conventional heating and cooling system