Tour the Bugatti factory, Molsheim
In the September issue of Wallpaper* (W*126) we befriend Bugatti's latest baby, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport. Here Jonathan Bell, visits the factory where this hand-built, breathtaking car was born.
The sparse, laboratory-like spaces of Bugatti's Molsheim factory are a fitting environment for the manufacture of the world's most advanced sports car. The Bugatti Veyron and Veyron Grand Sport 16.4 roll slowly off these production lines and into the air-conditioned underground garages of the world's most discerning - and deep-pocketed - motoring enthusiasts.
Take a tour of the Bugatti factory - where the world's most advanced sports cars are pieced together
An integral part of Volkswagen's revival of the Bugatti name was the return to the marque's historic home in Molsheim, just outside Strasbourg. Here stands the Château St. Jean, built in 1857, and subsequently used by Ettore Bugatti as a grand customer service centre. The original factory was destroyed during the war, so the decision was made to create new production facilities in the château's grounds. To undertake the work, VW enlisted the help of Gunther Henn, whose Munich-based practice, Henn Architekten, has forged a close link with the VW Group over the past decade. Henn has designed some of the more adventurous examples of motoring architecture, including VW's Transparent Factory in Dresden and a fair chunk of Autostadt, the Wolfsburg-based auto theme park that unites the VW's brand portfolio with a series of architectural pavilions set in landscaped grounds.
As well as stripping out and totally restoring the château, the adjoining stable buildings were dismantled, moved and reconstructed, using as many original materials as possible, but with modern detailing and
facilities to serve as the customer reception and meeting spaces. They also house a library and workshop for the restoration of classic Bugattis, a small-scale set-up with a domestic feel that contrast with the industrial character of the main production pavilions.