NIO House Oslo

Designing for Community

Since its foundation in 2014, the Chinese electric car brand NIO has risen to prominence in the EV market, renowned for its innovative design, cutting-edge technology, and unwavering focus on enhancing user experience. Introducing its first showroom beyond China's borders, NIO House Oslo marks the brand's European debut, strategically situated in Norway's capital due to the nation's pioneering stance on electric vehicles and its commitment to advancing a greener agenda.

From the outset, NIO's aim to foster a vibrant community around its brand is mirrored in the global design of NIO Houses – spaces that transcend the conventional vehicle shopping paradigm. NIO House Oslo serves as a testament to the brand's dedication to electric mobility, seamlessly weaving technology, artistic expression, and a sense of belonging.

At the core of NIO House Oslo's design philosophy lies a profound dedication to nurturing belonging and fostering interaction among electric vehicle enthusiasts and other visitors alike. Transforming beyond the ordinary automotive showroom concept, this space evolves into a dynamic nexus, encouraging shared moments and mutual learning. Here, enthusiasts and owners converge, exchanging narratives, insights, and a collective enthusiasm for sustainable transportation, truly embodying the spirit of community.

The design draws inspiration from Norway's stunning natural landscapes, creating a serene and inviting ambiance. The use of natural materials and expansive glass surfaces reflects the connection between NIO's forward-thinking technology and the surrounding environment. The transformation of a pre-existing space has resulted in a place which architecturally not only captivates the eye but also echoes the eco-conscious spirit that NIO embodies.

Within, the interior spaces evoke a sense of discovery with the layout encouraging exploration that allows visitors to engage with NIO's state-of-the-art electric vehicles, technological innovations, and interactive displays. This fusion of technology and design immerses visitors in the possibilities of sustainable transportation, fostering a deeper understanding of NIO's vision for the future of mobility.

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The concept for NIO House Oslo is based on the geographical composition of a fjord - the edge where mountain meets sea. Sky as ceiling, mountain as walls, and water as floor.

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The design draws on inspiration from the spatial qualities found in the Norwegian “Fjord” landscape, where steep vertical walls enhance the experience of moving through space. This experience is interpreted in the layout and material working of the basic elements of wall, floor, and ceiling.

The walls are clad in ash wood that is sustainably sourced from Europe and treated with an organic and non-toxic fire proofing.

Blending soft, warm materials with cooler, harder surfaces was a deliberate choice aimed at infusing a unique Scandinavian essence. The intention was to greet visitors with an ambiance that balances comfort and sophistication within a minimalist framework.

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Natural tones and locally sourced materials dominate the design with terrazzo made from Norwegian stones, reclaimed Norway Spruce and rough basalt among other materials. 

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The terrazzo floorings are made of Fauske marble from the Norwegian region of Nordland. The granite used for the lounge tables was sourced as whole, raw blocks from the quarry at Åland, Sweden. They were left largely untouched and now add a naturally dense and tactile presence to the space.

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Within the realm of furnishing, a deliberate choice was made to employ chrome-free and environmentally labeled leather and textiles. Complementing this, timeless Scandinavian design classics have been selected for the creation of adaptable furniture pieces designed to stand the test of time. Additionally, the novel material Karuun, derived from sustainably sourced rattan, has been utilised for furniture cladding – a material that is also used in the interior of the NIO cars.

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Diagram showing the two levels connected by the amphitheatre staircase.
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Oslo, Norway
Showroom, Café, Community Space, Library, Meeting Facilities
2,150 m2
Completed 2021
NIO Norway A/S
Invited international competition
Fokus Rådgivning (project management)
NIO Norway, Even Mellum

In 2021, Chinese NIO launched their premium smart electric vehicles to the European market and a new era for showroom typologies that expanded the possibilities beyond the traditional programme. The Norwegian capital’s status as a first mover on the promotion of electrical vehicles and sustainable mobility infrastructure made Oslo the obvious location for the first NIO House outside of China.

The design stems from an innovative concept that transforms the traditional car buying experience, carving out a unique space for both NIO's users and the broader community.
The community-centred facility embodies the essence of a second home, offering NIO users an immersive and comprehensive experience.

Located on the exclusive high street Karl Johans Gate in central Oslo, NIO House Oslo resides in the spaces of a prominent refurbished building dating back to 1899. Occupying a total of 2000 m2, the showroom spreads over two floors, with multiple entrances from street level that invite passers-by to explore the NIO universe, the vechicles, and the community spirit that characterise the NIO brand.

Beyond the Gallery, which welcomes public visitors and showcases NIO's electric vehicles, the showroom encompasses various lifestyle components, including a Café, Living Room, Library, Forum, Playground, and Labs, all thoughtfully curated to encourage NIO users to unwind, connect, and share moments.

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NIO House Oslo transcends the notion of a mere showroom; it emerges as a new urban destination that embodies NIO's brand and philosophy through its visual and spatial design. With a distinctive character, it integrates into the local context, becoming a true reflection of its surrounding environment.

At ground floor level, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the automotive exhibition, a café, and a small marketplace selling local and innovative artisan products.

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The broad, amphitheatre staircase is a prominent and versatile part of the design leading down to the lower level, which is dedicated to the NIO community. The staircase interlaces functions and spaces across the two levels and is equally suited for informal hangouts, festive occasions, and video linked events and presentations.

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The facilities offered also include flexible spaces for activities and meetings, a library and fireplace lounge, an exhibition area, and the “Children’s Hub”. 

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The blue colour dominating the "Children's Hub" creates a mysterious and secretive space for children to explore and claim as their own unique place within the grander NIO framework.