Audi Showroom, Sandyford

As you approach the new Audi flagship car showroom in Sandyford, you can’t help but feel in awe of such stunning, cutting edge architecture. This is so much more than just a car showroom.
Externally, the building incorporates significant glazed elements, as well as curved, dynamic shapes with a modern auto retail look – and this is before you even set foot inside the building, where even more incredible sights await you. Designed by Dublin-based EMD Architects, the new 20-million euro, custom built, multi-storey car showroom and 18-bay workshop is based on Audi’s newest “Terminal” design concept. This ultramodern facility is designed to create an unparalleled retail experience for customers, showcasing the latest in Audi innovations through the very latest modern technologies.

Opened to the public in November 2017, this is Audi’s largest retail and after sales service centre in Ireland, with almost 10,000 square metres of floor space. It’s an important Audi site – almost 20% of all Audi car purchases in Ireland take place here. This is also the ‘greenest’ Audi showroom in Europe, possibly the world. Donal Duggan, Head of Business at Audi Centre Sandyford, is extremely proud of what his team has created here: “Sandyford is Ireland’s greenest car showroom – the building envelope incorporates several low energy solutions and a wide range of enhanced service systems, including LED lighting and a Lighting Management System that are helping us reduce our energy consumption even further.”

The grass is always greener
The Audi Centre is unique in terms of its intense focus on energy efficiency. The car showrooms are North-facing and so there was no need to install air conditioning systems – the rooms maintain a pleasant, cool air temperature all year round. A grass roof was installed to harvest rainwater and recycle this down through the building to be used in the car wash facility. Fast-chargers for hybrid and electric cars are installed in the customer parking area outside. Audi even decided to future-proof the power requirements of the building by installing its own 660kW on-site electricity sub-station.

An enlightening experience
As you walk through the main entrance doors to the Audi Centre, the ground floor showroom consists of a customer reception area, service reception, new car display and new car handover bays. As you walk around, the ambience is one of relaxation, comfort and wellbeing, with warm, soft lighting, comfortable chairs and sofas, coffee machines and a bar. The other noticeable difference from most other car retail showrooms is a lack of salespeople in sight – a very deliberate strategy by Audi that prefers a ‘softer’, more laid back approach that doesn’t intimidate the customers. 
As you arrive at the first floor via escalators, the main new car display showroom awaits, with 20-plus new cars on display. The ambience is similar here, but this showroom is even more striking than the ground floor. As well as the new cars on display, there’s also an Audi Sport display area and an impressive-looking Digital Customer Lounge. Here, customers can sit comfortably while adding a range of accessories to their Audi vehicle, customise it in a 3D digital environment or donning a pair of the latest Virtual Reality goggles to take part in an augmented, 3D walk-round tour of their chosen car. This is car retailing at its very finest!

The importance of lighting
Glamox Ireland worked closely with the architect, EMD Architects, and the electrical engineers, Baker O-Reilly Consultants, to ensure that all lighting installed in the building met the demanding requirements specified by Audi. Glamox supplied a variety of LED lighting products – more than 1,000 light fittings in total – throughout the site, located in the new car showroom, ground floor showroom, offices, workshop, car wash facility, customer lounge, stairwells, corridors and the used car areas.

In the main new car showroom, Glamox D70-R LED flush,ceiling-mounted downlights were carefully selected to provide the required illumination levels for each car model. In certain locations, some of these lights are supplied with custom fittings to match the precise grey colour of the Audi ceilings.

Additional energy savings
All lighting installed at the Centre is controlled by a Lighting Management System (LMS). In the new car showroom, the LMS is used to set the scene throughout the day, ensuring that each car on display is shown off in the best possible way. The Glamox LED downlights are regulated from a pre-set 1,000-lux during the day to 200 lux in the evening. The LMS also detects the presence of people in the showroom (and other areas of the building) and switches the lights on and off accordingly.

In the new car showroom, the Glamox LED downlights look like a constellation of stars in the night sky. However, as Donal Duggan states, “Whilst the downlights appear to be arranged in a completely random manner, they’re in fact carefully specified by Audi to be positioned in a way that highlights each new car on display, maximising their contours and features. All the lights are controlled by the Lighting Management System, which allows me to highlight a particular car if I need to make it stand out from the others.”

According to Duggan, lighting was a critical element in achieving the building’s energy saving plans. “Audi specified how energy efficient the lighting should be, which of course pointed to the use of LED lighting. Most car showrooms in Ireland have traditional 150W halogen downlights installed. For us, the Glamox D70-R LED downlights are only 32W, so we estimate that this site is saving at least 80 per cent per year in energy costs related to lighting. That’s without factoring in the additional energy savings from using a Lighting Management System.”

The first floor of the Centre also provides access to an Audi Approved Plus centre for 100 cars that is spread across three floors. Here, C80-SR LED downlights from Glamox are mounted over the centre of each car. These light fittings are suitable for surface mounting in long lengths if required.

Moving from the top floor down the staircases reveals even more Glamox lighting: A20-S decorative LED lights. These slim, circular, ceiling mounted LED lights provide a pleasant light distribution throughout corridors and stairwells.

In the ground floor workshop, all 18 bays are illuminated by Glamox i80 high bay LED downlights. Each bay is further illuminated by Glamox D70 recessed lighting built into the bulkheads at the back of each bay. These provide each individual work cabinet with sufficient light when in use by the car technicians.

“This is probably the best lit car workshop in Ireland,” boasts Duggan. “It gets dark here at 4pm in the winter months, so I would like my staff to work in a well-lit environment at all times.