make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend

make your fridays matter

Pierre Gonalons designs Renault 5 Diamant to celebrate the iconic model’s 50th anniversary
Pierre Gonalons’s San Primo sofa with Renault 5 Diamant
Video: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

Pierre Gonalons designs Renault 5 Diamant to celebrate the iconic model’s 50th anniversary

Renault 5 Diamant cars and their NFTs are set to be auctioned in September 2022.

by Almas Sadique
Published on : Aug 01, 2022

We are all familiar with the extravagant ornamentation and decoration that were present in all buildings, objects, and pieces of furniture during the Classical era as well as the austere features that adorned post-industrial infrastructure. Contemporary style, however, is about mixing both: functionality and ornamentation, to give form to designs and objects that can be a part of everyday life, feature as style statements and fulfil utilitarian demands. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Renault 5, the iconic brand collaborated with French designer and architect Pierre Gonalons to create Renault 5 Diamant, a boldly coloured pink vintage car that appears to have emerged from the Wes Anderson universe. A re-invention of the original 1972 model, the electric car and its corresponding NFT may augur the tradition of melding automobile design with interior design to create attractive functional objects.

“I am honoured by Renault’s invitation to reinvent the mythical Renault 5 for its 50th anniversary. The brand gave me free rein to design my dream car,” says French interior designer and product designer Pierre Gonalons.

Renault 5 Diamant is an electric car unlike its original version Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut
The Renault 5 Diamant is shaped like the original Renault 5 car Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

The original Renault 5 iteration, a classic symbol of pop-culture, sold more than five million units across the globe between 1972 and 1984. This four passenger hatchback car was built for more cost-conscious consumers and was touted as one of the first modern superminis. Gonalons’s new electric show-car Renault 5 Diamant retains the silhouette of the original edition, but accentuates its look with snazzy elements. “As I see it, the Renault 5 embodies a pop, upbeat and categorically contemporary lifestyle. What I wanted to do with the Renault 5 Diamant was pay tribute to its revolutionary design and at the same time transfer the shapes and colours in my universe to the automotive world,” explains Gonalons.

The headlight protrudes out like a sculpted solitaire Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut
Covered in three layers of paint, the pink car shimmers with hues of blue Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

Capturing the designer’s vision for a futuristic car, Renault 5 Diamant combines the hallmarks of automotive design and interior decoration. The end result is a car that can be driven around as a fashion statement, comparable to the iconic French necklaces, purses, and shoes that frequently make headlines. The designer takes cues from decorative arts and from fine jewellery for the tail lights and headlights, which are cut like gems and chiselled like solitaires. These delicate features, appearing like anomalies on an otherwise robust body, define the style of this latest Renault invention. The engine, which is 100% electric, is another modern feature added onto the vintage body of the car. While its unmistakable shape retains the aura associated with the automobile brand, the fine-tuned bejewelled elements, chiselled into perfection, urge the viewer to come and have a closer look.

Pierre Gonalons with Renault 5 Diamant Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

“Pierre Gonalons and his team’s creative universe and personalities rank them among France’s finest artisans. The result is trailblazing, and the details are very elaborate. For me, Renault 5 Diamant is an emotional jolt more than anything else: the outside hues give the car a naïf and at the same time sophisticated appeal. Pierre pays a lot of attention to detail. He is extremely sensitive to the references and meaning in each element,” says François Farion, Director of Renault Colours & Trims.

The image of the sun in the centre of the wheel Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

Combining three layers of paint—a pink base, gold pigments on top of that, and a coat of frosted varnish on top—improves the car's exterior appearance. The result is a shimmery garb with a wide variety of colours reflecting from different angles. These tones of golden dashes and blue tones against the electric pink add dynamism to its appearance. Complementing this wide array of colours and shimmer are the smooth wheels that hold the sun icon in the centre. This symbol of the sun, dear to Gonalons, serves as a design stamp that formally personalises Renault 5 Diamant as the designer’s personal creation.

The car’s steering wheel is shaped like a pretzel Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

The interiors of the car, dotted with lean features, stainless materials, hard-wearing materials and brass surfaces gilded with pale gold, hint towards Parisian design features. The door handles, shift lever and window winders are made out of truncated spheres of brass and steel, and the uniquely shaped steering wheel is marble on carbon. Although shaped like a pretzel, the designer claims that the steering wheel, shaped out of French Grand Antique d’Aubert marble recycled by Minéral Expertise, does not hamper the user experience in any way. Adding to the visual appearance of the car are the technologically advanced features such as the fingerprint scanner to unlock the doors, the three-position sequential shift lever, a dedicated cradle in the middle of the dashboard for the driver’s smartphone, and the three round digital dials – for speed, battery charge and time – that pay tribute to the art of clockmaking.

Smartphone holder in the car Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

The fabrics covering the car seats and the dashboard were produced by textile creator Métaphores and a century-old hand-weaving establishment Le Crin respectively, while the mohair wool carpet was made by Pinton, one of the last tapestry artisans in France. The gilding on the car’s body and the monogram on the bonnet were done by Bertin-Aubert, a Paris based atelier.

Pierre Gonalons’s signature on the car Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut
The rearview mirror of the Renault 5 Diamant car Image: Gaëlle le Boulicaut

While this car design is meant to commemorate the golden jubilee of the original Renault hatchback, and will not be made available for usage on roads, its design hints towards a future where exorbitantly styled items can fulfil functional requirements as a norm and not as an exception.

Gonalons and Renault will also develop a collection of Renault 5 Diamant NFTs, which will be unveiled in September this year. Both the car and its corresponding NFT will then be put on auction, the proceeds from which will be donated to Give Me 5, the brand’s CSR project dedicated to reaching out to the youth through sports and music.

What do you think?

Comments Added Successfully!