This new showroom for the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla presented at the crossroads of Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place is clearly defined by one element – its uniquely dynamic rainscreen façade system. Santa Monica based Folonis Architects collaborated with Los Angeles based architectural system designer and manufacturer, Arktura to create this bespoke façade. Its design pays homage to Tesla’s roots with an electric-arc-inspired perforation pattern - branding the space outside through the functional passive solar veil that tempers the effects of the Southern California sun, and casts playful shadows for the visitors inside.
Folonis collaborated with Arktura, who used proprietary software, combined with engineering and manufacturing ability to translate the synergetic graphic forms of electrical waves into complex curved, custom exterior Graphic Perf® panel system that envelops the space. The screen design was inspired by magnetic flux diagrams capturing measurements of Tesla units, a unit of magnetic induction that also takes its name from the company’s namesake, Nikola Tesla. The primary lines of the façade are an abstraction of kinetic energy waves formed from electron decay during energy release. Perforations are strategically dispersed to control visibility and allow filtered sunlight to pass through into the lounge and sales room on the second floor.
Arktura worked to bring the vision to reality while assuring the façade integrated seamlessly with the building’s 30-foot-high curved glass curtainwall, supported on standoffs and custom bow truss columns developed for this project. With arms projecting out from the low-iron glass, the façade floats gracefully free and independent of the existing building. The result effortlessly supplies the functional benefits of protection against the elements while serving as a unique representation of the company’s iconic roots.