The petrol filling station has changed little in format or basic design since the 1960s. It is four square petrol pump islands and a flat canopy to shelter from the elements and a shop in a box. The core fuel offer and refuelling experience is often called a 'distress purchase'. Even the pumps, which were once human in scale with internally-illuminated glass orbs and had a certain charm, are now nondescript branded boxes.
The days of being 'Sure of Shell' are long gone. Customers look for the cheapest fuel in the most convenient location: a fact borne out by the popularity of supermarket filling stations.
With fuel margins dwindling globally, retailers have supplemented their income by inviting 'proper grocery retailers' onto their sites. BP’s collaboration with M&S is an example of one of the most successful fuel / retail partnerships, demonstrating that customers can be attracted to petrol stations for different products and a non-fuel experience.
Our ‘station of the future’ concept turns the current filling station format on its head and brings the shop / café hub to the front of the site to maximise the opportunity for passing trade. In effect, the roles are reversed. The fuel stays in the background out of site while the shop occupies the forecourt.
The building is environmentally sustainable, harvesting rainwater and sunlight, and the interior spaces are flooded with daylight. The offer of a c-store, café, farmers’ market or click and collect services are all possibilities for the next generation of filling station, whatever the fuel type may be.