When gas stations meet design!
In the middle ‘60s, Mobil decided to start a renewal program to globally boost the company’s image. The intent was to have a uniform profile in all countries, to immediately identify Mobil’s products.
In 1964 the design Agency Chermayeff & Geismar realised a new, modern logo, and in 1966 the old “Socony Mobil” was renamed “Mobil Oil Corporation”.
The company gave great importance to gas stations and they turned to a great architect to renew them: Eliot Noyes! He designed a harmonious environment for new gas stations, distinguished by round shapes, that became typical of Mobil.
The first “circle stations” (or “Pegasus stations”) appeared in 1967; they were “designed for highway beautification as well as operating efficiency”. “Steel-and-plastic canopies, which provide shelter from rain and hot sun”, were accompanied by “cylindrical gasoline pumps” and “oil display units”.
The only commercial symbol on the building was Mobil’s Red Horse; according to Noyes, in fact, the circular design was sufficient to “help the motorist to quickly recognise the station as a Mobil station”; additionally, with these shapes, “the pump island becomes an attractive focal point for customer attention”.
As Mobil vice-president – Mr. Peckheiser – said, “these stations represent entirely new and imaginative concepts that challenge many of the old ideas of service station design”.
In conclusion, a modern and innovative project, which created a new style for gas stations, immediately recognizable in the world.
Round canopies, however, weren’t as practical as they sounded. Guido Fisogni, who works with Italian Mobil during the 1970s and 1980s, remembers well “the period when Mobil built everything round. Sheds didn’t shelter motorists from rain, and after few years many gas stations decided to build normal rectangular canopies over the round ones!”.