NIO and umdasch:
"A new horizon" – the motto for the German premiere of the start-up for e-mobility, NIO, could not have been more fitting. As general contractor and shopfitter, The umdasch Store Makers are paving the way for the brand to Europe. The vehicle for their expansion are the club lounge-like NIO Houses as a meeting point, community space and ideal stage for the smart premium electric vehicles from NIO.
Young car manufacturers are naturally in a hurry, they want to take new markets by storm, to "put their fleet on the road". To do this, they need brand contact points, stationary salesrooms that deliver on the promise of smart mobility in the context of automotive lifestyle. To this end, the international start-up with its HQ in Shanghai is building so-called NIO Houses, an inclusive community space for Generation E. There are already around 100 of these worldwide. For their German market entry, NIO has secured the services of umdasch The Store Makers. With the help of the general contracting (GC) and shopfitting professionals, the country's first NIO House was launched in Berlin at the end of 2022.
On the prestigious Ku'damm in Berlin, an innovative showroom for the manufacturer of high-performance, all-electric vehicles – designed for road, track and autonomous driving – was created on three levels. It is no exaggeration to say that the expansion of the international premium brand with its global design center based in Munich, which is also setting its sights on Scandinavia and the Netherlands in addition to Germany in Europe, has picked up speed with umdasch. At least when you see how the pre-opening, the early opening of the first floor, went.
Organisation, timing and commitment
If GC is normally the crowning achievement of highly efficient project management, the Store Makers went the extra mile for NIO; this was the only way to make the rather spontaneous soft opening possible in record time. The NIO House is not just a showroom, but rather a community space with forums and labs, a gallery, a living room, a café, a library and a games area that invite people to work and relax, to meet and celebrate. These multi-layered functions of use of the NIO Houses are reflected in the complexity of the GC as well as in the high level of shopfitting of the Store Makers. umdasch as the hub of coordination. Contact person for the Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, NIO as the client, the numerous subcontractors with their trades. In short: construction, interior fittings and coordination of everything that goes with it – more performance and time pressure is not possible.
The fact that this left room for logistical tasks, for special requests such as individually designed wall claddings and technical details, including the Modbar undercounter espresso brewing system in the catering area, shows: It's all a question of organisation, timing – and commitment. Don't get rattled, always find a consensus, even if the start of construction is delayed. If necessary, "asymmetrical mobilisation" can be used, in which construction, planning and design simply overlap. Although each NIO House is based on the same design concept, it is always adapted to the respective location and rounded off with local accents. This is where the Store Makers came into play as a holistic shopfitting partner, whether it involved sampling, engineering or the production and assembly of the furniture. Special features in terms of implementation include the coffee area and the Children's Hub, the play area for kids.
The start of NIO in Germany, for Paul van Hemert, was the beginning of a successful journey. "A journey to which we as Store Makers have proudly made our contribution," says the umdasch Sales Director Central Europe about the precision landing at the opening event in Berlin.
Latest location in Frankfurt
Germany's second NIO House opened in Frankfurt am Main at the end of March 2023. In line with the motto "Better Together", NIO is also following its User-centred community concept at this location – the NIO House is intended to be both a showroom and a meeting place. umdasch was on board again as shopfitter and general contractor.
On an area of 1,600 square metres, the NIO House Frankfurt offers a unique architecture that reflects the contrasts of the metropolis on the river Main through a combination of diverse building materials. In the open, light-flooded rooms, clean materials such as glass, metal and concrete meet natural elements such as reclaimed wood and terrazzo. This high-contrast mix creates an inviting atmosphere, for which the metropolis is known, and at the same time conveys the innovative character of the international brand NIO. In short, the perfect stage for the dynamic contours of the NIO premium electric vehicles.