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Infiniti opens London design studio

Sun, 21 Sep 2014

Shiro Nakamura, Alfonso Albaisa and Simon Cox have officially opened Infiniti Design London, as Nissan's premium brand becomes fully separated.

"We have a clear vision to make Infiniti a key premium brand," said Nakamura, senior VP of design to the assembled press. "Design is a clear defining force."

The new studio is adjacent to Nissan Design Europe's base in the Paddington area of London, on the second floor of the protected Battleship Building that also houses Virgin's HQ. "We were very lucky to get this building," says Nakamura. "We are the only [car] company in the world to have a design studio in the center of a major city that can develop cars from sketch to production." Nissan has had a facility in this location since 2003, which has created both the Juke and Qashqai. Nakamura says the inspiration offered by such a location more than offsets the considerable expense.

This new site is the first of three new facilities that will be key to Infiniti's expansion. Studios in San Diego and Beijing are scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year as it seeks to gain a foothold beyond the US market.

The studio itself features several meeting rooms, a small modelling space, a dedicated color and materials studio as well as space for up to 20 designers. Despite the separation of the studios, Nissan and Infiniti will continue to share milling and build facilities.

"We've worked with Shiro to create a feel for Infiniti that's going to be replicated in the studios around the world," explained Simon Cox, one of three Infiniti design directors. "The purpose is to really concentrate our designers on the brand – we have our own values."

A large polished plaster wall creates a corridor that leads to the main studio: "We wanted to create a dynamic into the studio with the sculptural movement you see in our cars," explains Cox running his hand along its elegant surface.

The studio's latest creation – the Q80 concept – will be unveiled at the Paris show next month and promises to start the accelerated evolution of the brand that the men in charge believe is needed for it to begin to establish itself in the market.

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By Owen Ready