The automotive brand that perfectly matched the challenge of this year Milano Design Week was, in my humble opinion, Peugeot. They presented indeed excellent examples of furniture, design and art, at the right place, the right time, the right spirit.
Excellent examples of avant-garde creativity banking on cultural traditions, natural materials, craftmaship modern technology, artis’t freedom and design discipline.
The French company has indeed an advantage over most of its “colleagues”: their own “Peugeot Design Lab” created in 2012 under the direction of Monsiuer Gilles Vidal, design director of the car brand and now also head of the “Design Lab”.
I would have loved to also see in Milano an exhibition of BMW’S long established, and very productive, DesignworksUSA this year but the BMW Group seems to have missed the chance. Let’s hope they will be there next year.
The Peugeot Design Lab, an autonoumous department with the company, has created a series of very intriguing and sophisticated “design works” that can be considered unique works-of-art and masterpieces of craftmashift and most updated technologies. They have not been engineered for mass production. They have the potential of becoming “multiples of art” values at prices that are indeed multiples of a popular Peugeot automobile or motorbike. Most spectacular examples: the 135,000 Euro ONYX sofa and the Playel piano which price has not been revealed yet.
These works of design-art have been at the center of a unique exhibition in Milano, in a 750 m2 exhibition space.
The ONYX sofa,
is the first piece in a custom furniture collection and is a statement in pure form & materials and is the sample of a made to measure furnishing Concept. A powerful monolith, provocative and mysterious, the ONYX, makes its mark as a distillation of the earth from nature, technology and the avant-garde.
The three metre long sofa is made of carbon fibre and Volvic volcanic rock in a hybrid mix with lacquered black carbon fibre. Four hundred kilos of design that is terse, unique, exceptional, handmade and improved by the digital technology.
According to Gilles Vidal: « with the ONYX sofa, we are drawing a thread between the ONYX concept car (an alliance of efficiency and the use of audacious and natural materials) and the ONYX sofa.
By means of a sharp straight cut, this contrast is powerful, voluntary and assumed in the way we look at the materials and how they are used : the hi-tech carbon fibre with its very structured and technical texture, its shapes precisely adjusted to the volcanic stone with its texture and fault lines, perfectly adjusted in its dimensions and proportions, but with which one accepts not being in complete control, like the stone mason’s random chisel marks.”
The piano for PLEYEL.
First unveiled on the occasion of the 2012 Paris MOndial de l’Automobile, the ultra modern Pleyel piano has been introduced to the international public for the first time during Milan Design Week. The revolutionary piano designed by the Peugeot Design Lab, is at the core of a unique experience at teh exhibition, with three pianists alternating at the keyboard and a dynamic light show changing with the sound.
The Peugeot-Pleyel piano is the fruit of the co-operation between two companies that are 200 years old. The body and
soundboard of the piano are made of wood, the lid and leg are made of carbon fibre. The development of this piano took years of research, study and testing. The objective was to retain the unique high quality PLEYEL sound, simultaneously subtle, colourful, powerful in bass and scintillating in treble, in harmony with the timbre and touch specific to the brand.
More on PEUGEOT DESIGN LAB.
With a wealth of knowledge that comes from over 200 years of industrial experience and 120 years
of automotive creation, Peugeot launched in June 2012 the PEUGEOT DESIGN LAB, a global brand
design studio that is open to external clients (Dassault Aviation, Airbus Helicopters, Bombardier
Transport, Groupe SEB, Quechua, Corsica Sole). Its objective: develop strong and coherent brand
strategies so as to strengthen the client’s values, codes and identity. Its main mission is the design of
products, services and experiences for external clients from all market sectors.
Gilles Vidal, PEUGEOT Styling Director.
Gilles Vidal, 41, a graduate of the Art Center College of Design de Vevey (Switzerland), joined the
PSA Peugeot Citroën Group in 1996. For 11 years he contributed towards the renewal of the Group’s
styles. Since 2010, he has been the PEUGEOT Director of Design.
Cathal Loughnanne, Head of PEUGEOT Design Lab
Cathal Loughnane, 37 year old Irish designer, qualified as an engineer at the Dublin Institute of
Technology (Bolton ST). He took over management of the studio after 10 years spent working on
designs for the Group’s brands (interior design and concept cars). He reports to Gilles Vidal,
PEUGEOT Director of Design.