Archello | April 6, 2023
Founded in 2017 by parent company VinGroup, Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) brand, VinFast quickly gained prominence following its premiere at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. VinGroup has a strong and long-established presence throughout Asia and is now looking to create a footprint in North America via the new EV brand. To make its debut in the US Market, VinFast sought a design partner with proven technical abilities to launch its nationwide program. MBH Architects was contracted by VinFast in 2020 design the concept for their first U.S. showrooms and service centers.
Initial goals for the design concept included synthesizing a laid-back California coastal vibe with Vietnamese culture to create a relaxing ambience that spoke to harmony with nature. For today’s saavy customer, educational touchpoints were also a priority, providing a place for customers to learn about EV technology and the brand’s advanced safety features.
Once aligned on the desired aesthetic that conveyed VinFast’s company ethos and brand identity, MBH refined key design elements for scale and modularity. Adaptability was paramount in order to be applied to many different space configurations, while maintaining a consistent customer experience within the space. To best understand the customer experience and flow through the showroom, a mock-up location was built in Vietnam to understand how their audience would interact in this space.
The resulting concept is a clean, purpose-driven design that can be scaled via a prototype for future rollouts. The design took a minimalist approach to create an open, welcoming showroom that drew visual focus to the product. The façade offers unobstructed views to the showcased car, either with frameless, ultra-clear glazing and 8’ doors or open storefronts to invite visitors to come in. White ACM (aluminum composite metal) panels clad the façade, transitioning to a brand-blue panel that grounds the illuminated logo signage to catch the eye of passersby and invite them inside.
As one enters the space, full height graphic wallcoverings adorn the walls, immersing the visitors and vehicles in the natural beauty of Vietnam. Dedicated “story” areas give a brief introduction to the brand and educate customers about owning an electric vehicle using graphics, display screens, demo charging areas and in-store interaction with vehicles. With sustainability in mind, the design incorporates sustainably-sourced materials and energy efficient digital screens for a paperless experience. Millwork anchor points along the perimeter house interactive components such as a Design Center to explore customization options through various materials and colors. A wood-slat fin wall and pin-mounted, illuminated VinFast logo serve as a backdrop to ground the vehicles, as well as offering some privacy for the Private Consultation Room. This allows for a secluded place for customers to receive personalized treatment, discuss specific ownership details, enjoy Vietnamese coffee and potentially indulge in the grandiose feeling of accomplishment and celebration that comes with buying a vehicle.
VinFast first opened its upscale showrooms in lifestyle malls, ranging from 2,000 5,000 square feet. As a compliment to VinFast’s online business, these experiential spaces provide access and education for interested buyers to understand the look, feel, and charging operations of VinFast’s EVs before purchasing online, including taking the vehicles for test drives. While each store was customized to fit into the surroundings, the design elements and language stayed consistent across locations.
After designing the showroom concept, the service center design was solidified to cater to VinFast owners. Ranging from 10,000–30,000 square feet, these spaces include an abbreviated showroom, in addition to a hub where cars are delivered, and the car maintenance area. The service centers utilize technology to create conversation, intrigue, and connection. Customers feel catered to, through personalized experiences, private consultation spaces, and sleek furnishes in the waiting lounge. These centers can also be customized to fit local market needs, removing or adding the delivery hub component or keeping the space purely operational without the showroom.
Construction of (10) VinFast showrooms are now complete at Santa Monica Place, Westfield UTC, Berkeley, Citadel Outlets, Hillsdale Shopping Center, The Village at Corte Madera, Waterside at Marina del Rey, Irvine Spectrum Center, Westfield Topanga Village, and Del Amo Fashion Center are completed, with additional locations to follow.
Published on: Archello