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Posted in Automotive
3rd March 2023
The vision for the ongoing development of Girardo & Co’s Oxfordshire site is to create a unique destination and unforgettable client experience through which to demonstrates the team’s flair and expertise and showcase some of the rarest motorcars in the world.
Minoli has had close association with Max Girardo and the team for a number of years and in this article we share the story of our collaboration, a brief background to the Girardo business and their Belchers Farm facility, and we look at their stunning new showroom, featuring porcelain tiles from Minoli’s Contemporary Collections.
It turns out there is much in common between the two firms. As the names would suggest, each has Italian heritage, there’s a shared passion for all things automotive and both are headquartered nearby in Oxfordshire, the spiritual centre of the British car industry and original home to many Formula One teams.
Similarly, both businesses started trading in London (albeit decades apart) and it was at Minoli’s current Marylebone showroom that the companies first came together in 2017 to co-host the ‘Classic Cars On George Street’ event. This was a truly unique opportunity for invited guests to hear Max speak about the classic car market and the remarkable motors that are traded within. Also, to view the cars brought along by Girardo & Co including a Ferrari F50, Lancia Delta Integrale and a Ferrari 365 Daytona.
Max’s career in the world of luxury automobiles started with Brooks in Geneva, now known as Bonhams, before working for a shipping company in Monaco specialising in moving high-value cars. In 2006, he was approached by RM Sotheby’s to open their European operation in London, where he became Head Auctioneer and a global authority in rare classic, sports and racing cars.
After ten years plus in the role, Max yearned to create something new, experimental, more agile and intimate, so he founded Girardo & Co in 2016 from a small 6-car showroom in Fulham, before relocating to the company’s present HQ near Stadhampton in 2020.
A hand-picked team of specialists, Girardo & Co have become world renowned for discreetly sourcing and powerfully marketing the greatest classic cars in the world. As such, they need a physical facility, befitting their profile, in which to deliver a distinctly delightful experience for their discerning, international client base.
The phased redevelopment of Belchers Farm has been truly remarkable. Set in 50 acres of working livestock farmland, over the last 3 years Max and the team have worked with Stephen Russell Construction to reclaim and sympathetically transform the estate outbuildings into state-of-the-art display, hospitality and office accommodation.
Completed in December 2022, the centrepiece is a barn conversion of hangar-like proportions in which Girardo’s coveted classics are on display. Replicating the original beamed structure, with floor to ceiling glazing where barn doors once opened, this is an awe-inspiring space, with a mezzanine level housing an incomparable photo archive of international motoring events from 1980 to the present day.
To present the exquisite car collection to best effect, and to echo the origins of the building, Max carefully chose ranges from Minoli’s premium, porcelain product lines, to create two specific zones with distinguishing floor finishes.
The double-height area of the showroom features the wonderfully weathered wood-look of the Minoli Twelvenoon series, in the Daylight design that has driftwood tones. In plank-like 20/120 proportions, the linear layout seemingly extends the space and, in contrast to the bold, black ceiling, the pale palette of the porcelain tile draws the eye downwards towards the brighter coloured cars.
Beneath the mezzanine, a stunning, standout display area has been created with some 7,600 individual Luminous Lume majolica-style tiles. In a 6/24 metro-brick format, expertly laid in a herringbone pattern with striking bright, white grout, these deep Green, high-gloss porcelain decors have an almost lacquered lustre. This range is characterised by exquisite shade variation which brings such authenticity to the design, enhanced by the effect of oxidised edges and a hand-crafted appearance.
While visiting Girardo’s showrooms, two of the beautiful cars that caught our eye, parked on the Luminous Lume tiling, were:
- 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupé Aerodinamico, in a delightful deep metallic blue, this was the flagship twelve-cylinder Ferrari of the period, uniquely coach-built and sold to the marque’s most important clients with Enzo Ferrari’s personal blessing.
- 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder, in striking Ferrari red, this model was the preserve of the Jet Set in period and considered by many to be the most beautiful open Ferrari of them all.
Beyond the showroom, in the workshop and storage area, Minoli Advance Grigio Spazzolato, in a 60/60 size with a brushed finish, has been used as a technically advanced tile suitable for the high-tech vehicle preparation areas. This has been ingeniously inlaid with strips of tarmac-toned Advance Nero Bassalto, in a 30/60 format, to create blackened track-lines across the paler grey surface.
As you can imagine, where large surfaces need to stand up to four-wheeled traffic, the watchwords are quality, consistency and durability. Porcelain tiles are inherently strong when laid to adhesive, they are almost impervious to liquid and dirt, are resistant to chemicals, have anti-slip properties and deliver excellent colour stability over time. With minimal maintenance, Girardo & Co’s new facility will retain it’s perfectly presented appeal for many years to come.
Looking to the future, the next phase of development at Belchers Farm will see the opening of a new client reception with a more personal and private viewing suite, hospitality facilities and a ‘club-house’ area in which to enjoy spending time at Girardo’s. Away from their Oxfordshire HQ, Girardo also has a showroom in Turin for European clients, and they can be found out and about at various exciting, special events such as the Goodwood Members Meeting in April and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in May.
Minoli, we have both a personal and professional passion for all things automotive, with a long-standing heritage in providing tiles to motor manufacturers and their networks, plus a range of motorcycle, collector and tuning specialists, as well as garaging solutions for private individuals.
Our clients not only include well-known premium and performance brands such as Lotus, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lexus, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Alpine, Ducati and the Yamaha World Superbike Team, but also collectors and independent specialists such as RPM Technik, Dura Workshop Systems, DK Engineering and (of course) our friends at Girardo & Co.
Our thanks go to Max Girardo and Cat Bunch for specifying tiles from Minoli’s collections to finish this inspirational showroom space. You can see more of their curated collection of classics on their website: https://girardo.com/ and on Instagram: @girardoandco
See the full image gallery here