Opening tomorrow and running through the 14th, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano (The Milan Furniture Fair) is bound to have a few surprises that we’ll report on over the week. This showcase of all things product design has also been an outlet for famed British designer Ross Lovegrove to show off his latest furniture and light designs over the years. This year however, Lovegrove teamed up with Renault to deliver the TwinZ concept electric car inspired by biological structures. Can you spot the iris or the tree branch inspirations?

Ross Lovegrove x Renault

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Known for his wildly organic designs, Lovegrove didn’t cut any corners with his move into automobile design. Working with a blank car template supplied by Renault, the designer and his team drew inspiration from ‘nature’…effectively creating one heck of a psychedelic cruising machine that Ken Kesey would be proud of:

“As the ‘Play’ petal of Renault Design’s life-cycle ‘flower’, Twin’Z is the latest concept car in the programme which sets out to illustrate Renault’s new design strategy through parallels with threshold phases of human existence.”

-Renault Twin’Z Press Release

Tasked with providing the finishing details to Twin’Z’s body work (bumpers, lights, grilles, LED roofscape, and wheels), as well the interior and final CMF direction, the final design language effectively carries over biological structures to the automobile throughout multiple components. A clear and unique example of this can be seen in the wheel design, which clearly draws inspiration from a branch-growth structure:

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In paying homage to Renault’s deep roots in France, the striking blue LED embedded exterior is inspired by the great 20th century French painter Yves Klein who is famously known for his exclusive use of blue in his work:

0YKInstallation

“The satin finish gives a pure skin to the body which appears to be coated, almost anodised, rather than painted, suggesting that the pigmentation is inside the body and not applied. The soft clear-coat finish produces a velvet-like feel, while a certain iridescence lifts the car’s ‘electro-natural’ appearance.”

The car’s all-LED lighting allows for controlled light patterns to be obtained and emphasizes on the car’s unique lighting signature. While the evening head lights feature a graphical intent to communicate an alert expression, the daytime lights form a structure of strips inspired by an iris:

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“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.”
-Ross Lovegrove

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“The use of composites and recycled materials opens up new opportunities to combine textures and new skin expressions. Mechanical ‘hard’ aesthetics are making way for the biological principles of ‘soft’ aesthetics. As a consequence, designing a car no longer consists merely in improving the look and feel of the drive experience. It involves harnessing a new attitude towards how we integrate vehicles into everyday life by reducing harmful emissions, dematerialising the car’s physicality to achieve lightness, and maximising not only its footprint but also, and above all, its efficiency and intelligence. That is what I wanted to achieve through this project.”
-Ross Lovegrove

Technical Features:

  • Length: 3,627mm
  • Width: 1,705mm
  • Height: 1,506mm
  • Wheelbase: 2495mm
  • Weight: 980kg
  • Top speed: 81 mph
  • Range: 100 miles
  • Rear-mounted 50kW (68hp) synchronous electric motor with rotor coil
  • Maximum torque: 226Nm
  • Four lithium-ion battery packs spaced evenly beneath the floor
  • Voltage: 96V
  • Drive: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: direct drive with reducer gear and forward/reverse invertor
  • Specific Michelin tyres: 205/40 R18
  • Ross Lovegrove-designed 18-inch aluminium alloy wheels
  • Front suspension: MacPherson-type arrangement
  • Rear suspension: double wishbones
  • Adjustable Ohlins dampers
  • Chassis: tubular framev
  • Carbon fibre bodywork
Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.