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Italian gas station by Damilano Studio Architects - Click above for high-res image gallery

When luxury becomes a commodity, there's little left but to make commodities luxurious. This is a newly constructed gas station in Cuneo, Piemonte, Italy, designed by Damilano Studio Architects, and it's rather pleasant to look at if modern architecture is your thing. Reinforced concrete enclosing a glass wall creates staggered, latitudinal forms that are sliced by aluminum canopies front and back, with blood red fuel pumps.

We have no idea if a beautiful station sells more fuel or makes the Skittles taste better, but a little more pulchritude in one's day never hurt, did it? As to that absurdity, around back is a red steel block bearing a work of art that looks like a long armed, dog-headed man on a toilet. It is actually "a wolf howling, illuminated at night, draw[ing] attention to the urgent needs." Now that will definitely make the Skittles taste better. Thanks for the tip, John!

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the earliest days of the automobile, gas stations were frequently designed to blend in with their surroundings; clapboarded buildings in New England, "adobe" looking buildings in the Southwest, Spanish or mission-style buildings in California. Many great industrial designers of the 20th century designed service stations as well, including Frank Lloyd Wright. Maybe this outstanding 21st century design will start a new trend. I hope so!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Here's a Frank Lloyd Wright gas station in Cloquet, MN: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/2486
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just because a building serves a mundane purpose doesn't mean it has to be ugly. There are still some great old art-deco gas stations around our country.
      Sir Shagsalot
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is beautiful for a gas station. There's a reason you see this in Europe and not in the USA In the USA some kid would run around the side of it, try to crawl under where the angle approaches the ground, bump his head or get wedged in there, and the parents will sue the station owner, the gas company, the architect, and the Dept of Public Safety that approved the permits for not considering what idiots the parents are who are ignoring their kids. In (continental) Europe the parents would just mind their kids and be responsible.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good design doesn't cost anymore than bad design, and the Italians know this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That looks amazing. Looks more like a Rest Area than a Gas Station. Why can't we have nice car things like this in America? haha.. oh well I'll deal with my grudy run down Shell station with a garage bay that hasnt been used in 10 years, a over hang that looks like its about to fall off , a cashier/office area that looks like it hasnt been cleaned in 20 years but oddly enough the pumps look brand new.
        • 4 Years Ago
        uhmm...probably because we demand cheap gas and don't have any enforcible minimum markup laws that result in gas being sold at or below cost as a loss leader. In my area during the credit boom, I saw some nice looking gas stations that were built and flipped quickly. Most of those have become run down or taken over by the bank as whoever bought them couldn't run them and make the insane payments and it's too late to flip them. You make money on the soda, cigarettes, the deli, coffee, etc., though if you are selling gas at cost and you are spending 25 cents plus 2%-3% on credit card merchant fees per transaction you'll never make up the loss in gas with inside sales. that's why you see so many owner-operator stations where the owner is working 80+ a week.
          Chris Olden
          • 4 Years Ago
          Here in [Northern] Europe consumers prefer to use debit cards, that takes care of the 2-3% merchant fees you mentioned :) The markup on food, drinks and other items is considerable. People who run gas stations in my part of Europe can do quite well, they don't work 40h+ unless they want to.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There are plenty nicely designed gas stations in the US, some vintage, some brand new, like this one in L.A. http://la-landscape.blogspot.com/2010/05/gas-station-or-stealth-bomber.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why absurd? After 300 km of asphalt, it's nice to refuel and ... you know what... in a area that's actually nice. And actually, most of gas/rest stations in Europe (Britain excluding) ARE designed - perhaps not in that kind of way, but it's certainly more than a shop-box and few pumps randomly thrown at the roadside we see in North America and the UK.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The bar seems well-stocked, which is something I look for in a gas station.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Visual noise pollution? Hey, I make signs. In fact about 20% of our business is oil dealers. I'll be honest, we like clean well designed signs that look like they belong in their environment, but the owners (and more the oil corporations) demand a bright, busy look. As for visual pollution, T3, I can assure you that the amount of posters, extra service advertising, exposed neon, and wind-driven flippy things at a gas station are inversely proportional to the income of the people who shop there. Just a fact. This place is not in the low-rent district.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Commodity? Absurdity? Hey, if people want to beautify their surroundings good for them. With the escalating costs of driving at least it gives you something nice to look at while you empty your wallet. I hope the staff are also suitably impressive... lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      Rather nice actually ! But why the comment on "blood red gas pumps" ? They were not uncommon here in the old days and remember the Coca Cola machines that were an important trade mark for the company.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice. Love Contemporist.
      mike m
      • 4 Years Ago
      One of the few designer gas station around is the one by Mies Van der Rohe (designed the Seagram Building in NYC and the Barcelona Chair) in Montreal. The last time I heard the station is no more although the building being a heritage montreal site is still standing. Here's a good pic of the building: http://www.spaceinvading.com/entry/project_id/200901281233168974
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