Dec 1, 2021


by James Farnell

There’s No Place Like the Road: The Go Automotive Road Show

With many retail developments struggling to keep stores open, whether a small strip mall, lifestyle center or large retail mall, how can your business leverage current pop-up retail trends to create a new, hybridized shopping experience for your customers and expand your brand awareness opportunities? The Go Automotive story may give you the competitive edge you’ve been looking for.  

The Context 

Several years ago, property developer, investor and real estate broker, Peter Framson, saw an opportunity to capitalize on the vacant spaces many malls are increasingly offering up to test a new automotive experience center. He recognized that most consumers aren’t looking for a means of transport – they’re looking for a solution to meet complex and unique needs while traveling.

Framson’s solution proposed a consumer-to-business marketplace, where automotive retailers, manufacturers and service providers could be housed under a single roof, located in super-regional shopping malls and trade areas to provide the first automotive multi-brand department store. Through Framson’s industry relationships and enthusiasm, a family of unique partners and consultants came together including the team at Little – charged with creating a concept to secure investors, brand partners and potential sites and within two years, a national partner was identified with a premium mall location for us to test out the concept. 

The ‘Go Autorium’ Concept 

The prospectus that Little created, helped achieve all of these things through a strong narrative, supporting imagery and illustrations that brought the idea to life, soon to be referred to as the Go Autorium®, an automotive multi-brand marketplace where retailers, manufacturers and service providers come together at the intersection of fashion and transportation to provide a unique shopping mall experience. It includes a lifestyle runway area, brand marketplace, event space, digital displays, broadcasting studio, roof deck test driving center, car rental, and custom installation bays! The design for Go! enables customers to educate themselves, browse multiple brands, and personalize their experience through a highly responsive, digital environment.

Go Autorium sews together several unique experiences through a digital communication network educating guests in a bespoke 80,000 sf store. The space ultimately sells inspiration, transcending the physical product.


The design enables customers to educate themselves, to browse multiple brands and personalize their experience through a highly responsive, digital environment – including a lifestyle runway area, brand marketplace, event space, broadcasting studio, roof deck test driving center and custom installation bays.

A Pop-Up Retail Game Changer 

In parallel with this project, our Retail team was exploring how large-scale ‘pop-ups’ could help communities come together, activate under-utilized sites and enable brands to test the market in a multitude of conditions and geographies. The place-making concept, called ‘Air’, attracted attention around the world and won numerous international awards.  

However, more importantly, it served as a catalyst for innovation when the team asked themselves, 

“What if we took the Go! Autorium on the road? We could build market awareness in advance of the brick-and-mortar sites, gather consumer data and provide proof of concept!” 

 The “mash-up” would also provide a win for malls – utilizing several acres of empty parking at struggling shopping centers across the country to drive foot traffic.   

The Go Automotive Roadshow 

The “pop-up” concept merged with the “Autorium” concept to create the Go Autorium Roadshow.  

This ‘Festival of Journeys’ celebrates the lifestyle possibilities, experiences, and opportunities new travel choices can unlock. Unlike auto shows, our festival doesn’t center around vehicles, models, or brands. It centers around travelers’ emotional and social travel needs and their lifestyle aspirations. The journeys they make every day and the journeys they plan to make in the future. Unlike conventional auto retail environments, our festival is a welcoming, inclusive, and hassle-free space in which to make new discoveries, play and have fun. 

What’s Next? 

Go Roadshow will be rolling out in Spring 2022 with a large-scale, 7-acre pop-up planned for several parking lot malls across Texas. It promises to be a celebration of life’s journeys and the limitless possibilities of travel. Beyond a car show, it will be a celebration of what great transport choices can enable. The show will travel the country to gather data on future customer interest, drive foot traffic to malls and prime locations for the future build-out of these sites.  

The ‘community happening’ concept not only delivers measurable results for our client, but goes beyond architecture to reimagine how the auto industry can remain relevant to a new generation, drive business to struggling malls and empower customers to make informed buying decisions. 

Go Automotive Roadshow includes a lifestyle runway area, brand marketplace, event space, digital displays, broadcasting studio, roof deck test driving center, car rental, and custom installation bays


James Farnell

James is a designer with a passion for problem solving that came from crafting furniture and products in the workshops of England to creating more than 75 brand experiences in over 12 countries. He lives a life informed by his experiences of international cultures and the joy of living by the coast – from the East Coast of Yorkshire, to Australia, Singapore and now in California. Follow James on Twitter @farnelljames

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