Laurens van den Acker, Renault Group’s Corporate Design VP, gave a TED talk outlining the Renault brand’s design strategy, something he set in motion shortly after taking over the role from his predecessor, Patrick le Quément, in 2009. Since that time, he developed the Renault lifecycle — a series of concept cars that showed a new design identity for the French brand.
Renault is an emotional and human-centric brand, and the six-petal lifecycle takes the company’s values and transfers these onto products. Each concept car unveiled by the company since the 2010 Paris motor show represented a phase in a person’s life, from falling in love, exploring the world, starting a family, working, having fun and gaining wisdom through life experiences.
The concept cars not only previewed a new design direction but they also injected some much-needed synergy across the range. All of the cars were recognizable as Renault products through consistent design elements, particularly the treatment of the front face and the voluptuous bodyside surfacing.
Unlike his time at Mazda, where many of the concept cars previewed a design language that failed to reach the production stage, the concepts developed under van den Acker’s direction eventually transformed the entire range of Renault production products.
In the video above, Van den Acker takes us through a bit of that journey, highlighting the first generation Renault lifecycle concepts as well as the second set, which began with the wonderful Renault Trezor concept in 2016.
The latest series of Renault concept cars again follows the successful lifecycle strategy initiated in 2010. The Trezor concept, Symbioz and Ez-Go concepts are all part of the company’s future design vision, though van den Acker asserts that the second generation needs to be more experimental to cater to the monumental changes taking place that are “going to cause us to re-think the car”.
The Symbioz, in particular, is a good look into the future according to Renault, as it is entirely connected, shared and adaptable vehicle that is part of an all-encompassing ecosystem. Able to drive autonomously, it can also become an extension of the home, a separate private room that revolves around the needs of the users.
And though the video above was shot before the Ez-Go concept made its debut in Geneva in March, there are still recognizable Renault design features within a vehicle that is essentially a concept for shared mobility in the urban environment. We’ll have a full video with Stephane Janin, Renault’s director of concept cars, to explain the design rationale behind that vehicle concept very soon.
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