Created by the Tokyo design firm Wonderwall, Intersect by Lexus, Dubai, is essentially a car showroom minus the cars. Though commissioned by the luxury automaker, new releases and test-drive models are nowhere in sight. Instead, the combined restaurant and event space showcases the brand by associating it with art, design, technology, and cuisine. “What I wanted to do was create the Lexus owners’ clubhouse,” says Wonderwall principal and founder Masamichi Katayama.
But you don’t have to own a Lexus to enter. Located inside a 7-story structure in the Dubai International Financial Centre, the 2-story space is approached from the public corridor and entered on its upper level. There a monumental stair immediately provides views of both floors. Beyond the stair, the upper level holds a lounge-like eatery, an open chef’s table, and two enclosed kitchens. The lower level contains offices and the multipurpose “Garage” used for parties, performances, and displaying concept models.
Though sales are not the main focus, automobiles are the driving force behind Wonderwall’s design. Following in the tracks of Intersect by Lexus, Tokyo, completed by the firm in 2013, the Dubai venue features bamboo screens inspired by the automaker’s signature spindle grille on its upstairs walls. Another recycled Tokyo motif: the Garage floor’s collage of 573 car parts, all painted white and protected by glass panels.
While Wonderwall aims for consistency among locales, site-specific elements matter too. In Dubai, the ceiling upstairs is comprised of 2-inch-thick plastic sheets whose wavy profile acknowledges the sand dunes nearby. Undoubtedly, Wonderwall is striving for a similar balance at the next Intersect by Lexus slated to open in New York in 2017.