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180° Automotive Inc.

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Photo by Matt Winquist

SHOP: 180° Automotive Inc.  LOCATION: Phoenix OWNER: Bogi Lateiner SIZE: 8,000 square feet

1) The countertop at 180° Automotive Inc. is more than a place to sign paperwork. Local artist Christine Cassano crafted the piece of art with 600 pounds of concrete. It’s set on a metal base and old car parts, like bearings, glass, and even clutch discs are embedded in it. It has an automotive clear coat sprayed over it. The same artist has also designed every graphic the company has ever used.

2) The silver post rising from the counter to the ceiling connects all of the wires running from electronics used in the front office. This keeps the area looking clean and modern. Another advantage of having the post is the monitor attached to it.

“It can be swung toward people to share information,” says Latiener. “We want to have all the clutter off the counter as much as possible. It also allows us to flip around the monitor and show the customers pictures, videos of how things work, an invoice—anything we might need.”

3) Adding to the modern, artistic aesthetic is a wall displaying local artists’ work. Photo exhibits rotate in and out of the shop every three months, and the shop also hosts a reception for the exhibitor. The work is displayed on five reclaimed pine doors mounted sideways all the way along the wall. Not only is the art sold, but the commission the shop takes is “lower than most galleries,” says Latiener. One of the past exhibits contained nothing but photos of female mechanics from around the world.

4) The customer lounge was designed for comfort. It has the essentials: food, water, wireless Internet, and plush seating to help customers feel relaxed.

“It’s about being a comfortable, quiet place,” says Latiener, adding that she has tried hard to make the shop’s lobby more of a community space. “The feedback we get is that it’s calm, it’s relaxed, and it’s nice to be here. We have customers joke that they’re going to do their work in our lobby because they like hanging out here.”

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