Twin’Z is the fifth concept car to result from Renault’s design strategy which is founded on the notion of the human life cycle, and which is represented as a six- petalled flower: ‘love’ (DeZir), ‘explore’ (Captur), ‘family’ (R-Space), ‘work’ (Frendzy), ‘play’ and ‘wisdom’.
The design of the Tiwin’Z is based on the idea of “play” and blends automotive styling with the world of furniture.
Designer Ross Lovegrove was given the task to imagine a cabin that is “truly occupant-friendly”, as well as to provide the finishing details to Twin’Z’s bodywork (bumpers, lights, grilles, LED roofscape, wheels) which was based on a design produced by Renault.
At Renault, the project was overseen by Laurens van den Acker, Axel Breun (Concept Car Design Director) and Raphaël Linari (Designer).
The Twin’Z has distinctive proportions, with a length of just 3.62 meters combined with a high waist-line, large 18-inch wheels and minimal overhangs, which gives the car a dynamic, low stance and a sense of safety and robustness.
The surfacing uses clean, smooth forms, that contrast with the intricate, organic textures of the wheels, the front grille, the rear end and the roof.
Twin’Z’s front and rear doors are hinged at the front and rear respectively and open electrically. The absence of a central pillar and the nearly 90-degrees opening angle contribute to a very easy ingress.
The cabin uses a formal design language inspired by nature and biological structures, and plays with light and organic forms which make the Twin’Z appear almost as a living object.
The Twin’Z is equipped with an all-electric drivetrain, with rear-wheel drive, a rear-mounted motor and batteries located beneath the floor.
Following the philosophy behind the concept, the Twin’Z will make its debut at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano.
From the official Press Release:
Wheel and tire design
The solid central core splits into slender branches which strike out towards the rim. The tires, developed specifically by Michelin, continue this pattern to provide a unity between the two functions.
This design was made possible by parametric modeling and 3D printing in order to achieve an eye-pleasing structural unity.
Twin’Z’s all-LED lighting are characterized by distinctive light patterns. The headlight assembly, rowned by an eyelid, uses a minimum of lines to communicate a positive, alert expression.
The daytime running lights are technological gems which form a structure of strips redolent of an iris, bestowing a near-humanlike gaze.
A sequence of LEDs also extends from the grille to the rear bumper via the roof. A pattern of light originates from the Renault lozenge badge and flows towards the head lights before climbing up over the windscreen pillars, along the roofline and then back down to the rear bumper.
This light path creates a magical effect which appears to bring Twin’Z alive.
The name of the car is picked out in gold letters on the rear window, while the ‘LOVEGROVE’ signature has been moulded into the bottom of the front doors.
The glass roof is designed in layers and incorporates an array of LEDs which form animated patterns that expand the occupants’ experience. “Passengers are hooded in a technological envelope that bathes them in a light which responds to the energy and pulse of Twin’Z,” says Ross Lovegrove.
“This roofscape heightens the sensation of space and blends seamlessly into the rear window.”
The conventional door mirrors have been replaced by an integrated video camera that has been aerodynamically ‘liquefied’ within the body. A crystal rear spoiler not only generates extra downforce but also completes the aesthetic flight of the car in a dynamic sense, creating visual lift and a sense of lightness.
The rear clusters have made way for LED lighting incorporated into the glass. This concept permits a host of new ideas. For example, when the driver presses on the brake pedal, the burst of the brake lights climbs gradually towards the roof, for enhanced visibility and safety.
Thanks to its original architecture, Twin’Z’s interior is roomy, despite its small footprint. The double floor pan has resulted in a high-up driving position, while the driver and passengers alike benefit from an excellent view of the road and surrounding environment.
The cabin is dematerialised and exudes an impression of simplicity that provides a sense of unity and space.
“The interior is not broken up into separate elements and all passengers feel very much part of the travelling experience. The rear seat backs have been integrated into the floor-pan to create space and a new, informal aesthetic.” explains Ross Lovegrove.
The rear-hinged rear coach doors and the ensuing absence of a B-pillar reveal a panoramic view of the cabin, creating a sense of purity and lightness:
-The purity of the interior’s lines is picked out by a voluptuous path of light. These milled bi-colour lines circulate round the entire cabin to describe a flow of energy, lighting up the interior with a luminescent green that maps its topographical forms. They treat the cabin as a single landscape to heighten the impression of space.
-The four lightweight seats have been rendered as small as possible, providing support whilst being lightweight and dematerialised. Their green frames appear to grow naturally from the floor and have been upholstered in a 3D woven, self-cushioning, lightweight blue textile which is both waterproof and flame- resistant, yet which still breathes. The seat frame is visible behind the weave to create an almost aerial feel.
The eye is drawn to Twin’Z’s steering column, inviting you to climb behind the wheel. There is no dashboard, which means that front occupants enjoy exceptional room, as do the rear passengers, thereby.
Use of HMIs has been minimised, too, with the conventional dashboard making way for a single tablet with a touchscreen display that is mounted on a centrally-positioned post.
Much like a home automation system, the tablet takes care of everything, from the vehicle’s systems (heater, seat adjustment, lights activation, control of the roof) to the GPS guidance system and in-car connectivity. A smartphone located in the driver’s line of sight display’s the vehicle’s speed, range-related information and the principal warning lights.
Designers’ official statements
Laurens van den Acker, Directeur du Design Industriel Renault
“Renault’s design strategy takes its inspiration from the human life cycle, focusing on notions such as ‘Love’, ‘Exploration’, ‘the Family’, ‘Work’, and now ‘Play’. And what better way to express the idea of ‘Play’ than by entering the enchanting world in which Ross’s thoughtful, beautiful and intelligently styled work comes to life. May it inspire you in the same way it inspired us.”
“Renault Design must remain attentive and open-minded at all times. We need to be attentive to new trends in order to stay ahead of the game, while an open-mind that embraces all sectors of activity is necessary to inspire innovation.
“There are numerous bridges between the work of Ross Lovegrove – which combines beauty and intelligence thanks to an approach inspired by the living, natural world – and the strategy we have been working on for three years now at Renault, producing designs that are sensuous, based on simple emotions and close to the public.”
“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.”
“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.”
“The car has become a symbol of our progress and civilization; an icon of our technocracy and our ability to transform materials into objects of great precision and physical presence.
“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.
“Thanks to advances in digital modelling, the frontier between dream and reality is becoming increasingly hazy. It is now possible to create objects which feature a strong design yet which still meet the needs of consumers.
“From the start, the intention was to build on the heritage of luxury and grace associated with France and to express it in a modern way, while at the same time creating a link between Renault’s past, present and future.”
- Length: 3,627mm
- Width: 1,705mm
- Height: 1,506mm
- Wheelbase: 2495mm
- Weight: 980kg
- Top speed: 130kph
- Range: 160km
- 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
- Front suspension: MacPherson-type arrangement
- Rear suspension: double wishbones
- Adjustable Ohlins dampers
- Chassis: tubular frame
- Carbon fibre bodywork
Renault Design Team
- Laurens van den Acker (Senior Vice-President, Corporate Design)
- Anthony Lo (Vice-President, Exterior Design)
- Axel Breun (Concept Car Design Director)
- Philippe Ponceau (Project Manager)
- Raphaël Linari (Exterior Designer)
- Nathalie Granger (Designer, Colours and Trims)
- Minh Au Truong (Technician, concept-car)
- Philippe Alves (Workshop Manager, Digital and Physical Modelling)
- Antoine Boulay (Manager, Digital Images and Films)
- Vincent Ciccone (HMI Architect)
- Gerard Picard (Director, ESTIVAL Design Studio)
Studio Ross Lovegrove
- Ross Lovegrove (Designer)
- Matt Longbottom (Director of Industrial Design)
About Ross Lovegrove
After studying Industrial Design at Manchester Polytechnic, Ross Lovegrove moved on to the Royal College of Art in London. From 1984 until 1987, he worked with Knoll International and was behind the highly successful Alessandri Office System.
In 2004, he won the Royal Designer for Industry Award and his work has been shown in many museums across the world, including London’s Design Museum where a section is dedicated to his work.