Farmer Autovillage is one of Bay of Plenty’s largest car dealerships. The family-owned business houses 12 new car brands including Audi, VW, Skoda, Subaru and Nissan.

Since moving to its Hewletts Road, Mount Maunganui site in 2004, the dealership has continued to grow. And, as a result, additional office space was needed within the existing building footprint.

Chow:Hill Architects have a long-term collaborative partnership with Farmer Autovillage, having designed the dealership and cafe in 2007. This most recent project included the design, refurbishment, and construction of a modern new cafe and office space. The finished result is a spectacular centrepiece of the showroom.

About the project

The initial brief was to demolish and replace the outdated ground floor café and reconfigure the nearby ground floor office space.

Chow:Hill’s design relocated the office space to a new mezzanine floor above the existing showroom and redeveloped the now more spacious ground floor to incorporate the new café and customer waiting area. The existing circular skylights informed the softer curves featured in several design elements.

The striking new cafe now sits adjacent to the workshop, with its unique facade and four large curved feature screens, suggestive of an automotive air intake, breathing fresh air into the existing space.

Acrylic solid surface was part of the initial design brief, but contractors on site suggested Tavolo premium acrylic solid surface, as it is the only New Zealand brand with a colour range available in both 20mm and 12mm.

Tavolo Raven (a black chip design) and Tavolo Tasman (a while marble design), were specified in 12mm and 20mm thicknesses.

“Working on a fun project with a great client that allowed the design freedom to create something different was very rewarding,” said Jaune-Marie van der Merwe, Chow:Hill Architects.

Tavolo Engine Room Cafe Farmer Autovillage
Tavolo at Farmer autovilage Engine Room Cafe
Tavolo at Farmer Autovillage Engine Room Cafe
Tavolo at Farmer Autovillage Engine Room Cafe

Livingstone Building is a nationally recognised commercial and industrial construction company headquartered in Hamilton. Its local branch project managed the contract to complete the construction work at the Farmer Autovillage site.

Local joiner Autocrat Joinery manufactured the café cabinetry and counter façade, collaborating with Ultra Surface Solutions to manufacture the Tavolo 100% acrylic solid surface countertops.

“Before manufacturing the counter, we provided the Architect with sample pieces of the dowelled façade and feature panels to ensure we had understood and met the design brief,” said Chris Sheary of Autocrat Joinery, “This job was certainly a one-off, and the result is stunning!”

Ultra Surface Solutions is Bay of Plenty’s leading manufacturer of high-pressure laminates and acrylic solid surfaces – providing benchtops, splashbacks and many other finished solutions for commercial and residential clients.

They collaborated with Autocrat Joinery to manufacture the countertops and splashbacks, servery tops and benchtops, supplying the Tavolo product and sinks for the project.

About the tops

The front, three-piece countertop features curved ends, each with a waterfall drop and a matching curved splashback. The contrasting servery top is in Tavolo Tasman.

The 8.3-metre-long food preparation countertop that runs along the back wall of the café has inconspicuous joins that give the appearance of one long seamless worktop that will be functional, durable and hygienic for food preparation.

“Tavolo was the perfect product for the high-end finish requested by the architect for the dealership – which itself markets, sells and services high-end brands,” says Rowan O’Brien of Ultra Surface Solutions.

Why Tavolo?

Visually spectacular, Tavolo has provided the café with a durable, functional and hygienic surface. Because it is non-porous, Tavolo will not delaminate or harbour bacteria – its stain, fade and chemical resistance makes it easy for staff to keep clean.

Tavolo is impact resistant and will withstand the knocks and everyday wear and tear in the cafe. Because it is renewable, it can be repaired and refinished, leaving it good as new – giving it a long life in this busy, high-profile environment.

Tavolo Frost
NSF SCS Global Greenguard Greenguard Gold

“The smooth, seamless finish of the Tavolo countertops are so easy to keep clean and hygienic, which is essential when you are busy,” says Engine Room Café owner Sheree Smith.

We are proud to have had the opportunity to supply and manufacture the Tavolo countertops for this high-profile client and location. They will provide years of service while still looking good well into the future.

Tavolo is NSF, Greenguard and Greenguard Gold Certified for food service.

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