With the annual Milanese design fair Salone del Mobile approaching, details on the flood of presentations and launches are starting to filter in. Among them are an intriguing set of teaser images showing a concept car designed by Welsh industrial designer Ross Lovegrove for Renault, the staid French automaker.
Lovegrove was one of the first designers to popularize parametric design and biomimicry—the study of adapting organic phenomena to solve contemporary design problems. The photos show textures and finishes that build on his past work with naturally-occurring patterns. The tail light looks like an iris, with strips of chrome that disappear into the center lamp like zonular fibres in the eye. The sculptural hubcaps (or are they the actual wheels?) eschew the traditional spokes for a fractal pattern based on the mathematical structure of tree branches.
It’s a damn good looking object, but someone has to say it: the idea of a car based on organic phenomena is deeply ironic, assuming that car isn’t powered by Mr. Fusion. Biomimicry portends to learn lessons from natural phenomena and apply them to design. If that were truly the case, this car would probably look more like a bike. Or a pair of shoes. What Lovegrove and Renault are doing is developing a visual syntax based on organic patterns. According to his studio, the intention "is to reveal nature’s underlying blueprints and transfer them into a new design language."
The details themselves look stunning—stay tuned for more specifics as the car is unveiled in Milan on April 9.