Bicycles floating in the air, a ceiling height of almost 6 meters, illuminated display furniture and mirrored glass that gives the illusion of infinity are just some of the effects that makes a new showroom for high-end bicycles an extraordinary experience. "This project is an invitation to dare to dream big," says Creative Director Johannes Torpe.
In a little over 12 months Johannes Torpe Studios have succeeded in transforming a dull industrial building from the 1990s into a gleaming cathedral for the science of cycling. With 'the power of the product' as the mantra, the design team has created a retail space that fosters knowledge, learning and innovation.
The space combines the functions of a traditional showroom with the ambition to support the global bicycle community. With knowledge, innovation and learning as keywords, the new United Cycling Lab & Store offers a full experience of the world of professional cycling. In short, a modern monastery for the science of cycling.
The store includes a product gallery with accessories and spare parts, a workshop, a bike-fitting area and offers training facilities on Watt bikes. The full project comprises of office facilities, meeting rooms, cantina, storage facility and an outdoor plaza by the main entrance, perfect for industry meet-ups and events.
Drawing on the idea of the monastery, all the functions of the facility can be transferred to those of a classic monastery; The showroom is the chapel, the offices are the dorms, the cantina is the refectory, the product gallery is the library, the training facility is the choir and, the workshop is the forge.
The design concept draws its inspiration from the detailed engineering of a carbon fiber bicycle. It seeks to highlight the dreams and engineering that the bicycles represent. The studio has done this by juxtaposing the world of nature and science and the meeting between man and machine.
The architectural design follows a tight grid system that is introduced through-out the building. This choice pays tribute to the precision of the products and furthermore ensures a modular and scalable retail solution for a global rollout.
Concrete floors, bright white walls, custom built illuminated product display furniture and 6 meter ceiling heights with white luminous ceiling panels make the impressive framework of the showroom. One wall is a customised illuminated display for 8 bikes and suspended from the ceiling are five pantographs that elegantly display a selection of bicycle prototypes. With the click of a button, they can be lowered down for inspection by the customer. Mechanical, old fashioned and tactile all at once. Five display elements with lit surfaces and a cabinet box allow customers to take a closer look and feel of the individual bike parts.
The south wall separates the showroom from the product gallery and is covered in perforated raw steel plates with a brass mesh attached on the back- side. Through the perforations one can sense the inviting and cozy space of the product gallery. Here customers can find top-tier equipment and spare parts elegantly presented on customised oak display units. Moving from the cozy wooden nest of the gallery into the grandiose, white and almost sterile show- room is a transition that displays the contrasts between nature and science, simultaneously combining the world of men with machines. It is a transition from low to high ceiling and from darkness into light.
The showroom is designed to elevate the bicycles and display their sovereignty. All elements in the showroom and the product gallery follow the same gridlines. The combination of precision and the very technical products on display creates a clinical yet ethereal atmosphere - almost like entering a sci-fi laboratory.
Photography: Alastair Philip Wiper