Gas station design – the world’s 10 best filling stations for 2016

#6 Esso Mobil Station

gas station design

Location: A6 Birstall, Leicestershire, UK

Architect: Eliot Noyes

Completed: 1978-79 (Designed late 1960s)

During the 1960s American architect Eliot Noyes redesigned the look of all Mobil gas stations where it achieved its iconic appearance with project 'Pegasus'. While recruiting the help of graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismar who redesigned the Mobil logo, Noyes came up with the bold red, white and blue colour schemes that became instantly recognisable, particularly on the side of a highway.

Successfully meeting the design brief of being immediately identifiable, the flying saucer-like parasols were created.

The circular canopies - unique for their overlapping design - were first built in Connecticut in the USA in 1966. Soon, they were spread across the country and the UK and included variations in size.

This particular petrol station (built 1978-79) in Birstall, Leicestershire, became an English Heritage listed building in 2012, and remains one of the last surviving examples of Noyes' distinctive designs. It was remarkable to become a listed building as the strict criteria require significant architectural or historic significance to even be considered.

'It's quite unusual for a petrol station to be listed - this is one of just two from the 1960s,' said John Minnis, former English Heritage architectural historian, at the time the building became listed (2012). 'As far as we know, the one in Leicestershire is the last of its kind left in the country.'

Mobil is an American company based in Texas, in the year 1999 they merged with Exxon and in the UK runs under the name Esso.

Image courtesy of Ned Trifle

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