Harley Davidson Showroom: A steel facade in vibrant colours underlines corporate identity

The Harley Davidson showroom in Auvergne, France makes maximum use of a vibrant corporate colour scheme to draw in customers. The building is one of the most important Harley Davidson showrooms in Europe and needed to be approved by head office in the United States before the design was finalised. The result is landmark representation of the company’s identity.

Detailed information

Situated in Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne, the Harley Davidson building stands on a 3,850 square metre site just off the A75 motorway which connects Paris to the south of France. Due to the limitations of the site’s topography, the building forms a long rectangle which occupies 450 square metres.

The structure is broken into three parts: a workshop area, offices, and a showroom. All three spaces are linked through the office area which includes additional floor space and a balcony on the first floor.

Designed by Archi 3a architects, the building makes maximum use of the Harley Davidson identity. The prepainted steel panels are finished in the firm’s corporate palette including black, dark grey, and orange. The building is capped with an orange umbrella roof which overhangs the walls to provide shading and protection for the bike parking beneath.

Some panels feature etched sections to represent visual details such as the skull at the front of the building. This detail was specified in the brief to reinforce the ‘bad boy’ image of the company, though Alain Felgines, Managing Partner at Archi 3a, is quick to note that most people who ride Harleys are very nice people!

Etched onto the side panels of the building is an image of local legend Vercingetorix. A strong historic symbol in this part of France (and a true bad boy!), Vercingetorix is most famous for organising the revolt which stopped Julius Caesar in Gaul.

Metallic buildings are a trademark of the architecture office Archi 3a. They utilise prepainted metal cladding wherever possible as it is easy to form and place, is cost effective, and allows the building to be constructed within a short timeframe. The steel panels used in the Harley Davidson building were supplied from the Bacacier® By S+ARCK® range. Three panel designs were utilised including NANO®, POINT®, and VÉGÉTAL®.

Another reason Archi 3a choose metal cladding is that it is easy to replace if the building needs to be extended, or those bad boy details are not to the liking of the next occupant. This is made even easier with the use of a special screw designed by Bacacier, the company which supplied the prepainted panels. The double-threaded, self-drilling screws can be capped in different colours and act as a design element and fixing system. The screws are easy to remove if a cassette or panel needs to be changed.

In this project, Archi 3a aimed for a very raw structure which reinforced the image of Harley Davidson while keeping costs to a minimum. Internally the metallic cladding and framework are visible and utilise the same colour palette to further enhance brand identity. The result is a cohesive building which more than meets the customer’s brief and which will remain durable in the long term.

Project information

  • Puy-de-Dôme
  • France
  • 2015
  • Architects:
    Archi 3a (Sébastien Chevalier)
  • Steel fabricator:
  • Photos & Text: