It goes without saying that Toyota Motors doesn’t need anyone to tell it how to design and build cars. But when it came to designing the lobby for its engine manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama, the company signalled for some creative help.
The engine plant’s lobby served a dual function — not only was it where Toyota executives greeted visitors and guests, it was also used by plant employees to access the manufacturing area. So, the plant’s management wanted the lobby displays to both educate visitors about Toyota’s history and corporate philosophy and motivate and inspire the plant’s workers.
Major design considerations included 1) creating a sophisticated, modern, look and feel that was visually appealing — yet wouldn’t appear extravagant, and 2) incorporating the ability to easily change out and reconfigure displays.
The road map for Toyota was to create a unique, eye-catching space that evoked the corporate values of stewardship, sustainability, environmental responsibility and community through graphically anchored messages that took into account the unique perspectives of both visitor and employee audiences.
The design included a chronologically arranged history wall with graphic panels that tell Toyota’s corporate story. Attached to the wall via French cleats, each individual panel can be removed and updated without disturbing adjacent panels. A strategically placed series of free-standing message kiosks communicate visitor-facing messages on one side, and employee-facing messages on the reverse.
Custom-built engine displays feature natural-colored wood bases with satin-black diamond plate overlays and four-sided tempered glass surrounds. Integrated casters allow the heavy engine displays to be moved easily throughout the lobby area.
The Toyota lobby design project rolled off the assembly line on time and on budget. Not only did it meet all of Toyota’s original criteria, it also won the admiration of the American Advertising Federation, which presented the project with an award for excellence in design.