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Aston Martin and Pret-a-Diner Create Pop-Ups in Historic Frankfurt Buildings

A building formerly used by Deutsche Bank was repurposed into the “House of Beautiful”, where sophisticated cuisine and British sports car extravagance delighted spectators for a short period of time. While gourmet temple, Pret-a-Diner by KP Kofler, entices visitors to the second floor with exquisite flavors, Aston Martin presents breathtaking, high-horsepower vehicles on the ground floor.

Sound exciting? We thought so too; that’s why we applied right away to handle this automotive concept. Just as it so often is, the time factor was the true challenge here – this time before the set-up phase even began. satis&fy took 15 full work days to study plans and renderings by British design house GLS Design Ltd. and deliver an offer for tradeshow construction technology. Coordinating the individual items with GLS and Aston Martin as our clients. The planned project was to involve CI conforming design of the foyer and hall – a historical landmark – on the ground floor of the building at Junghofstraße 11 in Frankfurt, so that Aston Martin could display its newest models and exotic specialty vehicles to an auto-enthusiast audience during the IAA. The company presented the Valkyrie Hypercar, the Vanquish Zagato Volante, and a FIA World Endurance Championship Car, among other models, including their previously secret clay model.

Design Concept from England

The specifications from the British designer, which specializes in exhibitions and pop-ups, were clear: “print it black” – everything in black, except for white vinyl openings in the floor to create a presentation surface for the cars themselves. There was another instruction for installing the complex audio, video, and lighting technology as well: everything needed to be hidden - blacked-out, to look like it was floating. This was one of the reasons we used very small, yet highly efficient moving lights to illuminate the vehicles, which were easily able to handle the desired color temperature changes and daylight simulation.

Guests entering the historic hall first passed by the central reception desk, behind which a sound tunnel opens, leading to the Holy of Holies, the confidential area – more about that later. The tunnel was equipped with small speakers – in black of course – and floating battery-powered LED tube lights with color changing function, controlled by a central controller to match.

Presentation of the Current Model Program

Parking spaces for vehicles in the current model range opened to the right and left of the tunnel. The three-horizontal linked 55” screens replayed centrally controlled video content in brilliant quality upon the exterior walls. The vehicles on display were regularly exchanged for different models. Because of this, we needed to re-adjust the light each time. Of course, the programmed moving lights meant it didn’t take much work to do so. The limited space available in the hall posed a bigger challenge to our tradeshow construction specialists. “They had to design the partition walls and columns to be separable and sliding, in order to create more room to maneuver the vehicles,” Project Manager Frank Simon from satis&fy says, explaining the situation. “Daniel Thoma, who served as trade manager for event architecture, did great things with his crew. In addition, we hired a glazier to remove and replace a large separating panel to the foyer each time.”

Perfect-Fit Construction

We started construction on Junghofstraße ten days before the exhibition started. First, we used a scaffolding of cross-members. This was no easy task with the relatively low room height of 3.21 meters, leaving no room for extra tolerances. Instead, everything had to fit perfectly. Then we covered the floor with particle board and glued black and white vinyl to the top. Technical construction was completed step by step, using the highly flexible work methods satis&fy is known for. The customer requested a wooden particle board structure for the walls, which was covered in muslin by satis&fy's decorating experts. The customer was especially interested in decorative details on the walls - everything needed to look high-class in the “House of Beautiful.” The Aston Martin word and image mark, was cut out of brushed steel in a variety of sizes using a CNC process, which looked very sophisticated against the black background.

The “Confidential Area”

The highlight of the display was the “Confidential Area” in the back of the hall, where extremely rare Aston Martin models were on display - including a DB11 Volante. Only select guests were offered access to the area; they entered through the sound tunnel, where expectant sports car fans were prepared with a powerful soundscape of high-HP engine sounds for what awaited behind the curtain: exquisite automotive technology and a light and sound show on a pre-programmed time code controller. Just like all the other lighting and audio effects from satis&fy. We can’t tell you more; after all, it is confidential.

By the time we handed over the project to representatives from Aston Martin Europe, everything complied with specified renderings and requirements: high-quality atmosphere, intimate and detailed, everything the customer asked for - and Aston Martin explicitly let us know they were highly satisfied with the execution and the service.

All in all, we brought together a great crew, despite the short time frame and difficult circumstances – it's a real boom time for trade fair technology – that worked together just like a finely tuned sports car – and with the quiet hum of a twelve-cylinder engine. The atmosphere was relaxed, a fact which was also positively received by our contacts in Great Britain. They praised the company for our foreign-language skills and especially our professionalism.

We are also glad to note the very low amount of waste produced during this project: The two trailers of equipment were removed for re-use, and the installed wood and muslin material left over was all recyclable.


Photos by Anna Imm Photography

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