2022 marks the 50th anniversary of one the brand’s icons, Renault 5. True symbol of the pop-culture, mor e than 5 million units of the model were sold in several countries between 1972 and 1984.
To celebrate this iconic model’s 50th anniversary, Renault decided to join forces with a prominent designer who ranks among Architectural Digest’s 100 leading creators and representative of French arts and crafts.
The conversations between Pierre Gonalons and the Renault Design Colours & Trims team led to the Renault 5 Diamant show-car. An electric car, capturing the designer’s vision of the car of the future, combining automotive and interior decoration hallmarks.
“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 Pierre Gonalons. “As I see it, the Renault 5 embodies a pop, upbeat and categorically contemporary lifestyle. What I wanted to do with 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.”
RENAULT 5 DIAMANT
Pierre Gonalons’ inspiration came from the decorative arts, and particularly from fine jewellery, which you can see in several delicate and innovative details.
Renault 5 Diamant has kept the instantly recognisable look and unmistakeable shape of the original “Supercar” that first rolled off Renault production lines in 1972. But a lot has changed beyond the familiar silhouette. The first modern touch is under the bonnet: a 100% electric engine. Visually, the design includes first-rate details merging into an all-new, sophisticated effect that urges you to take a closer look.
François Farion, Renault Colours & Trims Director, pointed out, “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 look. Pierre pays a lot of attention to detail. He is extremely sensitive to the references and meaning in each element.”
When you look at it from the outside, you see the body has been streamlined so that Renault 5’s distinctive lines stand out. The usual add-ons were deliberately removed from their environment, and their shape and finish were magnified. The head and rear lights have gem-like faces, while the wide wheels, inherited from the Alpine version, are smoother and have a sun at the centre, a symbol Pierre Gonalons holds dear. The exterior colour is a combination of three layers of paint: golden pigments on a pink base, covered with frosted varnish producing a wide variety of effects ranging from golden dashes in the sunshine to bluer tones in the dark.
The interior is eminently lean. Tapping into expertise from Renault Design and the artisans involved in this project, Pierre Gonalons simplified the car keeping only a handful of very specific items. The door handles, window winders and shift lever have truncated spheres featuring distinctly Parisian hints such in brass gilded with pale gold, stainless materials, and hard-wearing materials. The steering wheel is marble on carbon and its unique shape does not make it any less driver friendly. Even the car’s key underwent a special treatment. All the while harnessing Renault’s expertise to make sure the car is utterly realistic and compelling and that the functional elements are unhindered.
Renault 5 Diamant also has plenty of technology. Besides being all-electric, it comes with a fingerprint scanner to unlock the doors and as all electric vehicle, it features a three-position sequential shift lever (forward, neutral, reverse). Three round digital dials, which pay tribute to the art of clockmaking, provide the essential information: speed, battery charge and the time. The navigation and infotainment can be conveniently supplied by the owner’s smartphone, which fits in a dedicated cradle in the middle of the dashboard.
FRANCE’S CRAFTS AT THEIR FINEST
Renault 5 Diamant looks great down to the tiniest details. It is made from superlative materials supplied by craftspeople who have earned acclaim for their unrivalled expertise and excellent handwork. The show-car is for instance packed with the experience of Design et Solution, a company that specialises in producing extraordinary vehicles and was tasked with the development, assembly and finishing touches.
Several artisans who work with Pierre Gonalons on a regular basis also pooled their expertise on this project. Specifically, the steering wheel and storage compartment are made of French Grand Antique d’Aubert marble recycled by Minéral Expertise and cast into tubes to make it lighter and more malleable; the fabric covering the seats was produced by textile creator Métaphores; the horsehair fabric covering the dashboard is made by Le Crin, a century-old establishment that weaves this material by hand; the mohair wool carpet is made by Pinton, one of France’s last tapestry artisans, based in Aubusson; lastly, the gilding on the car’s finishing touches, including the monogram on the bonnet, is made by Bertin-Aubert, an atelier in Paris known for its punctilious workmanship.