Martin Uhlarik, Nissan Design Europe All around the world I n the six years that Nissan Design Europe ( NDE) has been in London, the studio has created and fostered several successful designs both critically and commercially. Products have ranged from the Qashqai and its '+ 2' derivative, to the Micra C+ C, to concept cars as diverse as the Qashqai show car, the Terranaut, NV200 and the recent Qazana. The design methodology at NDE has recently changed as the project brief is posing more social and cultural questions as well as the A European design base for a Japanese car manufacturer is proving an effective approach to global design for Nissan
more traditional aesthetic ones; who is the user and how will this product interface with the customer and its environment? In this sense, having the designers of NDE working in central London has become imperative to Nissan designs success. But has the environment influenced the designer's work and ideas? When the London studio was unveiled to much fanfare in the spring of 2003, the creativity, diversity and cultural stimulation of this sprawling metropolis that attracted Nissan. Is the city influencing the creative output or has it been the other way around? When ideas and creativity converge with a specific time and place, will car design anthropologists in the future look back at the vehicles produced by NDE at the beginning of the 21st century and see a mirror to life in London with all its problems, challenges and inspiration? " In a real way, designers create the human environment". William McDonough said in 21st Century Design. " But what if the environment creates the design. Then you have the chicken and the egg situation." Nissan's global design Nissan is the quintessential Japanese automobile brand; it is design literate and has used this skill to improve and promote the brand. It was the second car company to install a satellite studio in California in 1979 that was then followed by almost all other manufacturers. The company now has several design studios around the world including those in California and London. Each one brings a regional perspective that feeds into the Nissan design matrix based in Japan, creating a global language. Nissan has also strived to emphasize its Japanese heritage and identity more so than others. Since the appointment of Shiro Nakamura as head of design, the company in its twin brands Nissan and Infiniti has made a conscientious decision to bring this cultural origin into its " The design reflects a changing cultural landscape of customers needs, mirrored by introspection by the brand on what it is and what it stands for"