More than a parking space - a theatrical showcase for collectible cars

Hong Kong-based multidisciplinary design firm, Design Systems ltd., recently finished a private garage as an ode to ultimate cars.

Through the interplay of materiality, lighting, and attention to user experience, their latest project possesses a theatrical atmosphere that pays homage to the ultimate cars—ones that combine aesthetics, exclusivity, and functionality, resulting in movable sculptures that are forged by technology, material, form, and engineering—many of the elements resonate with design values. The result is a dialogue between car collecting and spatial design.

An user experience tailored to a collector

More than a shelter or storage space for vehicles, this private garage is also a stage to showcase and celebrate the cars that our client holds dear. From the marble entrance, the lit driveway to the lighting arrangement throughout, the designers have orchestrated a theatrical setting for the owner to appreciate and scrutinise the uniqueness of each collectible.

When a car aficionado meets design connoisseurs, the result is a co-creating design process, working shoulder-in-shoulder for the best possible outcome. Their shared obsession towards details and perfection, contributed to the birth of a one-of-a-kind spatial journey.

“Collecting is a way of life. The art of collecting is like the art of design—both bear a meticulous process of research and curation. We weave an intimate personal story with art pieces, time, space and most importantly, light.”

Materiality: playing with contrast

All structures within the garage are processed with shotcrete—a common industrial process now used innovatively as finish material instead of structural material—to create a variety of finishings by spraying different surfaces with a mix of wet cement.

Concrete structures, brick walls, wavy mild steel panels, and expanded aluminium panels……all materials were processed with shotcrete to set a monochromatic tone for the space, all the while highlighting the textures of the materials.

Such treatment also gives prominence to the marble door. Contrasting the overwhelmingly raw concrete wall and floor, the intricate black and white marble evidently serves a way-finding purpose—also a poetic way to bring out the nuances of the rough and the delicate.

A theatre of light

Despite creating a palette of texture, we use light as another tool to create a theatrical effect.

Design Systems describes “light” as the major design element of the enclosed space, guiding people’s visual focus. Within, the car is the high spot, carrying the most complicated silhouette, material composition, and the smoothest surface—perfect to catch and reflect light.

A set of custom bronze ceiling pendant lights is designed to underscore the automobiles’ theme line. Designed with an industrial touch, the shape of the pendant light is cast on the car surface, forming a new pattern through reflection—establishing a spatial dialogue between the automobiles and the space.

The main lane is paved with circular lamps. When it lights up, the wheel bolt pattern on the granite floor is revealed, showing the way to drive out and creating a pleasant user experience.

To complete the narrative as an ode to the ultimate cars, the handles, door locks, and lighting fixtures of the garage, are designed referencing the inside of a car. These refined details, set against the rough surfaces of the space, add depth and tension to the overall spatial experience.

To the client, his cars are more than transportation vehicles, but a movable art collection that deserves to be admired and shine. This space serves exactly that end—through the anatomy of light, texture elements and user experience, we design a spatial experience that flows with the beats of the engines.

The details