Renault Initiale Paris Concept
Renault unveiled Initiale Paris, the sixth concept car in the design strategy initiated by Laurens van den Acker. Blending technical know-how with creative prowess, the new concept car previews the Espace replacement in an Initiale Paris version and embodies the brand's expertise and ambitions in the premium segment.
Renault's "life cycle" design strategy encompasses the experiences of its customers as they fall in love, discover the world, found a family, work, play, and attain wisdom. The strategy is based on an emotional styling language that is simple, sensual and warm in equal parts.
It is rare to see a brand display six concept cars together on its stand. By doing so, Renault is expressing the culmination of a cycle and the success of its design renewal. The exhibition puts each life stage into perspective by bringing visitors a few simple keys to make the brand's approach easier to interpret.
Renault designs cars for each stage in life. From this premise was born a design strategy that builds strong links with our customers.
"By making direct links between concept and production cars, Renault is delivering on the promise to design simple, sensual and warm vehicles with emotional appeal." Axel Breun - Concept and Show Car Design Director
"Wisdom" is the sixth petal in the strategy, unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Embodied by Initiale Paris, this petal stands for open-mindedness and the ability to enjoy life to the full by focusing on feelings and pleasure. It is in this spirit that Renault designers created Initiale Paris, an all-new take on travel, premium class, with all the emotions the brand sees in that experience.
"Initiale Paris is the sixth concept car in Renault's design strategy. It previews the Espace replacement in an 'Initiale Paris' version embodying Renault's vision of the premium segment." Laurens van den Acker - Vice President, Corporate Design
"The Initiale Paris concept car is a concentrate of the very best of Renault, caressing the senses through style and innovation." François Leboine - Initiale Paris designer
The flowing and contemporary body styling of the Renault Initiale Paris concept car is inspired by the worlds of architecture and aeronautics, two fields in which the generally mutually-exclusive qualities of robustness and lightness come together.
The shape of the side windows evokes that of a feather. The rear quarter light, shaped like an aircraft tail fin, houses innovative, motorized aerodynamic screens that deploy like the flaps of a tail fin with a sophisticated movement heightening the emotional content of the styling.
The harmony between robustness and lightness is showcased further by the repetition of a strong graphic design on several parts of the vehicle. The motif, made out of an assembly of diamond shapes, shares the spirit and design of a bee hive. It features on the exterior of the grille, the wheels, and the sides of the vehicle. Linking exterior and interior, it also figures on the floor section where the rear-hinged doors open.
The structural composition brings to mind the frame of an aeroplane, but also gives a nod to the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower, emblematic Parisian monuments, the capital of French-style elegance. The most formal homage to Paris is made by the concept car's highly original aluminium and plexiglass roof. Milled directly out of the main body, it depicts a map of Paris - solid and transparent - showing the city's districts and arteries and the River Seine. The technical feat, with its spectacular aesthetic result, gives meaning to the new "Initiale Paris" signature in particular and to Renault in general, since it was on the banks of the Seine that Renault's industrial adventure began. And what city better than Paris embodies French joie de vivre and refinement or luxury in the eyes of the world?
Renault's design team didn't think twice about taking their inspiration from non-automotive fields. Each time they called on classic automotive and luxury cues, they made sure to take a fresh and original angle on them. And they continuously drew on a singularly "French" spirit of challenge to shake up the established order.
The designers took their inspiration from aeronautics and ultra-high-end contemporary outdoor furniture - worlds featuring elegant and refined shapes along with a great deal of vitality, and at the same time evoking warmth, light and space.
Aluminium and wood are often used in the automotive industry, but on Initiale Paris they attain a much more "mature" and dynamic expression than usual. Chrome detailing is satin finished, while the matt-finish walnut wood is assembled using slim blades for a more refined air. The centre console has a similar design, shifting imperceptibly from natural wood to gloss black.
The concept car body is cloaked in an "Amethyst" colour that shifts from deep metallic black to luminous plum violet as the light and viewpoint change. The body paint plays with shifting reflections much as a jewellery setting showcases the gem it holds. The letter "I" for Initiale Paris adorns the vehicle sides and wheels.
The full-LED lights give the Renault Initiale Paris concept car a strong light signature. At the front, the daytime running lights enclose each headlamp in parentheses. A built-in mechanism causes an eyelid-like "blink" in the light. At the rear, the lights are harmoniously positioned in relation to the horizontal and vertical lines of the car through their size and artful proportions. Rearward vision is ensured by ultra-slim, profiled cameras that serve as exterior mirrors. Each exterior detail evokes and fosters movement.
Motorists enter the car via rear-hinged doors with the help of a motorized running board - in a further nod to aeronautics. The promise of the exclusive pleasure of travelling in private jet-style comfort becomes a reality when occupants see the armchair seats in the first two rows, together with the profiled gearstick, the light guides covering the entire cabin, and the shapes echoing the tail-fin motif employed on the exterior.
The peerlessly comfortable seats make travel a more enticing prospect than ever. Attached to the central tunnel with no vertical link with the floor, they seem to float in the midst of the cabin. The levitating effect is heightened by the discreet joint between seat back and seat base that lets the light pass through.
The floor blends prestigious matt wood with high-tech aluminium set in a regular pattern. The contemporary marquetry lends a distinct sense of relief - both literally and figuratively - through the wave-like movement that softly washes across its surface.
Drivers are treated to uncluttered instruments and a centre console that seems to float above the cabin floor. Free of side support, the console fits seamlessly into the cabin like a bridge linking the central tunnel and the dashboard. The console houses two screens displaying videos and information on points of interest in the surrounding area. The screens are built into the surface and curve of the console, merging as one with the matt wood veneer.
The third row of the cabin is home to an original bench made of independent mobile blades. The blades compose a poetic expression of the modular design expected of this type of vehicle. Their respective positions open up entirely new in use. The seat back can be partly or totally folded down, while the bench can form a single whole with an armrest separating the passengers. For visual pleasure rather than pure practicality, the blades can be set in a range of positions to suggest different kinds of movement, that of a wave, for example.
Travelling is also about transformation. The emphasis inside Initiale Paris interior is on original, consummately-worked grades in colours and materials, as seen on the seats in particular. Variations in light and the corresponding mood go hand in hand with the changes in rhythm of the journey. By day, natural light from above is diffused through the roof prism, creating an ever-changing play of light and shadow. At night, the soft light sources bathe all occupants in a soothing nocturnal ambience. A succession of light guides above the instrument cluster lights up and switches off in step with the forward movement of the car.
Source: Renault press