The brief given to the designers was to come up with a simple, sensuous and welcoming family vehicle to express Renault's new design philosophy in the MPV class. To achieve this, the designers combined sensuality with a monospace architecture. The result is a compact people carrier measuring 4.25 metres in length, and with a silhouette that is flowing, powerful and sporty.
"R-Space brings together qualities long considered opposed: family, functionality, sportiness and sensuality," explains Axel Breun, Director of Design for Concept and Show Cars. "It answers the expectations of a large slice of our modern society."
The tapered profile of the side windows emphasises the dynamic profile, while the large windscreen and panoramic roof - the thickness of which gradually changes - transform the passenger compartment into a cosy cocoon of shade.
The nose of Renault R-Space adapts the new visual identity (centred on the large, vertically-oriented Renault lozenge) to the proportions of an MPV. The body panels are shaped as sculptured volumes, meaning that the eye is drawn much more to reflections and the play of the light than to the lines themselves.
The theme being that of the family, it was the image of the family Sunday breakfast that provided the inspiration for Renault R-Space's colours and materials. "The tenderness and warmth of these shared moments find their expression in tones that are hot and 'sweet': the white of the milk, the golden shades of the honey, the brown of the chocolate," explains Laurence Widmer, Head of Colours and Materials on the Renault R-Space concept car. The theme of softness and sweetness is also mirrored in the choice of materials - including suede - which are lush to look at and pleasing to the touch.
As the pioneer of the MPV, Renault is putting forward Renault R-Space to take the notion a step further. To achieve this, the designers took as their starting point the notion that had made the model such a success in the past: the intelligence of the concept itself.
Interior designer Alexandre Gommier explains: "To reinterpret this idea in a modern context, we provided a strong visual and functional contrast between the driver environment, where the focus is on driving pleasure, and a surprising and highly-original rear section conceived as a play space for children."
The scene comes to view as soon as you open the double doors which, unobstructed by any central pillar, give clear access to a spectacular interior designed to trigger strong emotions from the very first glance.
In terms of interior design, the family likeness to the Renault DeZir concept car is clearly visible at the front in the forms of the dashboard and seats. The driver enjoys a cockpit-like environment, with a section of the seemingly floating dashboard being specifically dedicated to driving functions. The interlinking movement suggested by the shaping of the front seat backrests is a return to the idea of a couple in love.
At the rear, the world revolves around children. This is a play space, flexible and infinitely versatile, and formed from a simple and universal shape - the cube. Twenty-seven miniature motors power an array of height-adjustable hexahedrons, allowing four settings to be programmed, from an all-flat surface, to a booster seat, a table or a random configuration (only when the vehicle is parked) for children's games. The cube is a consistent theme in furniture design but not something one expects to come across in the world of cars: in Renault R-Space's cabin, however, it is very much in evidence - to the extent of even forming the covering for the floor and door casings.Published 1 March 2011