Twin’Z, a fun and modern city car that blends the world of the automobile with that of furniture, is the result of a close collaboration between Renault and British industrial designer Ross Lovegrove.

Instead of an Auto Show, Renault rather unconventionally chose the recent Milan Furniture Fair in which to reveal its electric supermini concept Twin’Z, which features design flourishes from renowned industrial designer Lovegrove.

“Twin’Z provided us with the ideal opportunity to place the process of automotive design under a different spotlight, a process which straddles the boundary between the world of the automobile and that of furniture. For this mission, we called on the creative input of one of today’s most talented designers, and the Milan Show provided us with the ideal setting in which to reveal our latest concept car,” explains Laurens van den Acker, senior vice president of corporate design at Renault.

Lovegrove’s team were given free reign to provide the finishing details to the concept’s bodywork, including bumpers, lights, grilles, LED roofscape and wheels. They were also tasked with designing the interior, including the choice of colours and materials, in conjunction with Renault.

“For me, the car is just a big product. But the magic for the designer is having the potential, firstly, to concentrate on working within the boundaries of a single ‘project’, then, secondly, to be able to design the furniture, lighting and electronics. I adopted a coordinated approach to both the inside and outside to ensure that Twin’Z read as one object and benefited from the same artistic mind-set founded on digitising and electrifying the car,” describes Lovegrove.

In his work, Lovegrove often draws inspiration from nature and the Twin’Z was no exception. Using modern digital design tools he created a design language for the car that was sourced from nature and biological structures.

He selected a striking blue for the exterior that has a satin-like finish. “It echoes France’s cultural heritage while also mirroring the virtues of our planet,” says Lovegrove. “After all, isn’t the Earth blue when seen from space?”

A sequence of LEDs extend from the grille to the rear bumper via the glass roof, which has been designed in layers and features an array of LEDs. “Passengers are hooded in a technological envelope that bathes them in a light which responds to the energy and pulse of Twin’Z,” describes Lovegrove.

In the interior, which is surprisingly roomy despite the car’s small footprint, the four lightweight seats have been rendered as small as possible. Their green frames appear to grow naturally from the floor and have been upholstered in a 3D woven, self-cushioning blue textile. LEDs also feature strongly in the cabin, helping to illuminate the interior.

“Ross Lovegrove turns things inside-out, upside-down, challenges and inspires. He makes a hard car soft, a small car spacious, creates simplicity despite complexity, and turns a lifeless object into something that is alive,” concludes van der Acker.

More news from Renault Design is featured in the next edition of Curve (Issue 43) – in the Curve for iPad version released 3 May, and extended editorial in the print edition released 13 May.

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