The details are not the details.

They make the design.”

So says the quote by famed architect Charles Eames. No project I’ve worked on has proven this statement truer than the recently completed design and renovation of the Ferrari of New England dealership. When you design and build a new showroom for a brand like Ferrari, the architecture must be as luxurious as the merchandise it so humbly highlights.

Curving soffits with light coves and floating ceilings
Curving illuminated display shelf

Pristine white walls that curve and flow throughout the space, crisp ceilings with glowing clouds that float above the cars, and an abundance of illumination that spills out of light coves and custom display niches creates an atmosphere as seamless and soft as it is dynamic and exciting.

These design goals were clear from the start. However, the method of achieving these designs required constant focus.  

Illuminated barrisol clouds float above the cars  

Light spills out of hidden coves and niches

The success of the renovation at Ferrari is the result of true collaboration and innovation. There was a lot of communication directly with Ferrari in Italy. There were multiple mock-up displays at the millworker’s shop. Lighting sales representatives made multiple site visits, and each week the team would gather around the table at the job site, every trade present, everybody holding themselves to the highest standards of design possible. As the project manager for HFA, I felt like a conductor, helping to orchestrate something beautiful that could only be achieved when each player brought their best and played from their heart.

Today, the history of these efforts is hidden from view.  What you see when you enter the showroom, if you can take your eyes off of the beautiful cars, is a simple, elegant design that fulfills its role as a backdrop for the merchandise itself.  There are punches of color and light that invigorate the space, such as the large graphic light walls flanking reception, but overall the showroom is a tranquil sea of soft white plaster and sleek, frameless tinted glass.

Back-lit graphics flanking reception energize the arrival experience
Showroom provides a clean, modern backdrop to highlight the vehicles

While the showroom is clean and quiet, the customer experience comes alive upon entering the car configuration areas.  This is where the customer selects features for their custom Ferrari. What was once just an open space where swatches hung on wall hooks is now a vibrant room defined by large, glowing display niches.  The focus is on the materials inside the niches; the seats, the wheels, and the metal colors, and through it all, the architecture creates a sophisticated playground of color and light.

This design is specific to the Ferrari Maserati brand, with precise details for backlighting acrylic and installing tinted glass floor to ceiling. So even though I’ve never driven a Ferrari, and I don’t expect to ever own one, that didn’t stop me from understanding how to create a space that reflects the image of these beautiful cars.

View of the old configuration area  

Above: The new configuration room celebrates the custom design process

Written by Sharon Charwick, Project Manager / Intern Architect

Sharon has over 12 years of architectural design experience.

Her creative design and strong technical expertise are keys to successful projects for our clients.

Sharon resides in our Boston office.