- Audi unveiled its "e-den" filling station this week.
- "E" stands for electromobility, so the e-den does not dispense gas. It calls the station an oasis filled with "fresh potted herbs, organic food, magazines and coffee-table books."
HERNDON, Virginia — You won't find a rack filled with beef jerky or a Slurpee machine in Audi's new futuristic filling station dubbed the "e-den." The German automaker took the wraps off its roadside "paradise" this week, calling it an oasis filled with "fresh potted herbs, organic food, magazines and coffee-table books."
Oh — and no gas. The "e" in e-den stands for "electromobility."
The futuristic charging station made its debut at Design Miami/2010. Audi said the German graphic design studio behind e-den imagines "a greener tomorrow where traditional gas stations no longer exist, but have transformed into more intimate places of encounter and relaxation."
However, e-den not only seems to take its cues from Starbucks but also riffs on the architecture of a 1950s American gas station, with an old gas pump "encased in glass like a museum piece serving as a reminder of the oil-dependent past," the automaker said.
Audi's e-den is a major leap from the turn of the 20th century, when gasoline was dispensed in glass jars at pharmacies to owners of the new Model T. Since then, gas stations have not just become a ubiquitous part of the landscape, but a recurring theme in American pop culture. George Segal's iconic 1963 "The Gas Station," with its white plaster figures, perhaps best captures the old-school filling station. "I was more concerned with how it felt to be in and pass by gas stations," Segal said. "The piece is 25 feet of darkness punctuated by abrupt geometric forms that resemble tires, oil cans and a Coke machine."
The classic filling station even made an appearance in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. Nabokov pointed out its "stationary trivialities — that green garbage can, those very black, very white-walled tires for sale, those bright cans of motor oil, that red icebox with assorted drinks, the four, five, seven discarded bottles within the incompleted crossword puzzle of their wooden cells."
Inside Line says: Some day, that bit of Americana will be gone for good. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent