The needs and desires of a person naturally evolve over the years of their life. Someone in their mid-20s may be aesthetically driven, while practical considerations become more important when they get older and start a family for example. This was the premise behind Renault's concept series at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 (CDW), which ran from 19 to 21 May. Bringing together six of its concept car designs that each correspond to a different phase in a person's life, Renault presented the Life Flower, an experiment with the idea that a brand can be a ‘life brand’, loyally following clients through life’s milestones.
Two ‘petals’ from this flower were physically on display in the Farmiloe Building during CDW. DeZir, the first car in the series, is a sexy red electric coupé with a Kevlar body, gullwing doors and a white leather interior, perfect for someone at an age where pleasure (beauty and speed) is paramount. The other car on display, Captur, represents the second phase of life. A fiery orange urban crossover it is designed to encourage new adventures and new discoveries as the owner leaves behind the city in order to seek out love, family, sport and passion. Other concepts visually represented were the R-Space (for family), Frendzy (for juggling everyday life), Twin’Run (for when the kids have left home and you are ready to play again) and Initiale Paris (an upmarket car for quietly enjoying the finer things in life).
The brainchild of senior vice-president of corporate design Laurens van den Acker and Anthony Lo, the Life Flower design strategy enables Renault to combine seemingly opposed ideas and purposes in a unified form language. Since joining Renault in 2009, Van Den Acker has transformed the brand, giving it much more of a visual identity across its range. There is a contemporary freedom and playfulness at the heart of all the concept cars, but they also present an important brand message and strategy: Renault will be there for you at every stage of life.
The importance and strength of a diverse yet cohesive brand cannot be underestimated, particularly in the world of design. Obviously the superyacht industry sits in a slightly different realm since many yacht projects are full custom; the form language is less to do with a brand message and more down to the client. The idea of the Life Flower is interesting though. It is common for yacht concepts to encompass all varieties of use—family living, entertaining, exploring, quiet cruising all in one yacht. However, a series of yacht concepts that each focus on one phase of a client’s life, therefore cater to that phase perfectly, might be a stronger design marketing strategy. Could designers and shipyard offer a lifecycle of platforms that cater to different phases of an owner’s life? Or take the Life Flower idea and instead present a series of concepts for different ‘types’ of owners?
The key aspect of the Life Flower idea is that Renault is promising to be there for their clients at every stage of their lives; something that should be central to the strength of any brand message, whether it is superyachts or automobiles.
The links between the automotive and superyacht realms is something that will feature in this year's SuperyachtDESIGN Week's programme, 23 to 25 June. To view the programme, find out more and register, click here.