After 80 years operating in the oil and gas sector, CEPSA, Spain’s fourth largest industrial group, has become a major player in the Global energy market. Yet, even as the company’s products and services have swelled, it is their petrol stations that remain the crucial touch-point that connects the brand with society. In 2014 CEPSA looked to revitalise its service orientated spaces and empower the brand by commissioning the design of its flagship service stations. A design team formed of three partner agencies, Saffron, tangerine and Malka & Portús came together to provide a powerful collaboration between brand, product and service design, and architecture. Brand consultants Saffron led creative direction and brand strategy. tangerine created an expression for the shape and form of the canopy, totems and refueling island, and redefined the customer interaction around the pumps. M+P designed the shop and supervised the detailing and implementation of the design.
The challenge was how to create a powerful and distinctive visual language that transforms a regular petrol station from being a place to simply refuel, into a place to stop and rest. Bridging the disjuncture between the hardness of the road and the human needs of the travelers, the new design becomes a highlight to any journey. The team’s objectives were to create a visually compelling service station that represents CEPSA in a new and meaningful way, to find ways to improve customer experience and to reduce maintenance costs using cutting edge technology.
Every touch point of the station that the customer interacts with was closely considered: the pumps, canopy, shop, lighting and signage. The forecourt was transformed using a high-tech ETFE material that is self-cleaning, lightweight and recyclable. Its structure is assembled in a modular fashion that can be adapted to varied station formats. ETFE’s 100% transparency enables a reduction in the use of artificial lighting thereby reducing station costs. The innovative plastic cushions create a light and airy quality, and at night they are flooded with a red glow, turning the canopy into a jewel for the brand. The bright red cladding of the C-store building reinforces the beacon effect of the station, that gently draws travelers in. Lighting parasols are placed above the refueling islands to provide a more localised experience for the person at the pump, and also help to reduce waste energy. tangerine’s future vision for the customer’s interaction with the refueling island proposed separating the display from the pump to provide a more intuitive and natural refueling operation.