Inspiration and design idea behind Dutton Garage - Karl Fender

Dutton Garage has a premier reputation within the prestige motor vehicle industry as an exemplary dealership of exotic Marques. The challenge of creating a new showroom, service and office environment which reflected and enhanced such a lofty reputation was compelling.

Distinct from the obvious pragmatic requirement of appropriate and functional space planning, the key design driver was to demonstrate the dealership’s commitment to, and love of the levels of design quality reflected in the vehicles they sell.

In response to this, the showrooms were designed as a gallery environment showcasing objects of desire; a place of surprise, a place of technical wonderment.

The inherent industrial nature of the property’s existing industrial sheds provided the perfect infrastructure and opportunities.

They were therefore retained, renovated and extended incorporating industrial referenced detailing. The crystalline shaped showroom windows were constructed from purpose built steel frames. Uniquely crafted stair handrails and balustrade walls were also built from standard industry steel sections, and the lighting was provided by strong, utilitarian factory fittings. The existing roof and floor structures were exposed with all service runs celebrated to create a robust backdrop to the vehicles in counterpoint to their graceful profiles.

The sense of theater created was enhanced by the integration of cast iron fluted columns which were the salvaged during the renovation of the Myer Emporium building in Melbourne. Similarly, windows salvaged from the Old Members Grandstand of the MCG were incorporated into the sales suites. These interventions added to the theater and special quality of the space.

The premises also feature a wonderful heritage bluestone building which was constructed in 1861. This building, once the office for a bluestone quarry located nearby, was restored and integrated into the master plan as both a museum and an extremely atmospheric function space. Although quite a different presence to the industrial showroom sheds, it too creates a dignified heritage counterpoint to the assortment of highly designed Marques on display.

The newly built top floor of the facility houses the owner’s private car collection under a softly curved barrel vault ceiling constructed from aluminum blades. This space has been crafted in to a calm, neutral gallery experience. It is bound by a low, continual perimeter window which showcases the cars to the outside world whiles containing external distraction from the exciting machinery on display.