Pierre Gonalons’ Renault 5 Diamant makes an icon shine


This spectacular show car was created in collaboration between French designer Pierre Gonalons and the Renault design team. The Renault 5 was launched in 1972, an ultra-compact sedan that evolved the styling of the popular Renault 4 with a cleaner, sharper aesthetic. Designed by Michel Boué, “Le Cinq” was a huge success, quickly becoming the best-selling car in France.

Over two generations and 24 years, some 5.5 million cars have been sold, earning it a place as an enduring piece of classic mass-market design.

Pierre Gonalons’ Renault 5 Diamant sits alongside the designer’s ‘San Primo’ sofa

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Renault 5 – and also to help set the stage for a new all-electric 5 model within the next two years – Renault has teamed up with French designer Pierre Gonalons to create a unique version of the car. of origin.

Starting with a 1970s Renault 5, the designer worked alongside Renault Design’s Colors & Trims team to completely rethink the styling and posture of the inspiring Boué shape.

Renault 5 Diamant by Pierre Gonalons, with the ‘Loggia’ armchair

“It was about celebrating this timeless design,” says Gonalons. “The Renault 5 was a revolution in form when it was launched. It is a very beautiful design object, with very clean lines.

“It was never about status, but about symbolizing the freedom of the times. I thought it was important to keep that spirit.

Resplendent in a matte pink finish with gold accents, the Renault 5 Diamant draws on the Gonalons’ vast knowledge and love for the decorative arts. As its name suggests, fine jewelry is one of the greatest sources of visual inspiration. While the silhouette is identical to the 1970s original, the detailed design is noticeably different, with key elements such as mirrors, lights, instruments and steering wheel transformed using entirely different – and unexpected – materials. .

Under the hood, things are also new, with the modest original engine replaced by an electric powertrain. Gonalons worked with François Farion, director of Renault Color & Trim, who describes the Diamant as an “emotional shock”. “Pierre pays a lot of attention to detail,” he adds. “He is extremely sensitive to references and the meaning of each element.”

“The very first editions of the Renault 5 arrived in orange,” says Gonalons. “It was new, suggestive, and even a forbidden color for the time. In 2022, I think pink has the same connotations, certainly in the automotive industry.

The Diamant’s body has a meticulously crafted finish, created by combining three coats of paint, starting with gold pigments on a pink base and then coated in frosted clearcoat to create golden effects that shimmer in the sun and appear blue in the dark.

The streamlined approach continues through to the interior. Controls such as the door handles and window regulators are truncated spheres of brass, gilded in pale gold, while the extraordinary steering wheel is in marble on carbon. Not only does it reference Gonalons’ own “Loggia” chair, but the designer says the twisted shape evokes winding city streets or the layout of a racetrack.

“The wheel has the biggest impact,” he says, admitting “marble is a very surreal choice.” But it’s part of my design universe. I like things that are not what they seem.

Gonalons has partnered with many experts and suppliers through its experience in building bespoke furniture. This wheel, as well as the interior storage compartment, are made from French Grand Antique d’Aubert marble, which has been recycled by Mineral Expertise and then cast in tubes.

The Métaphores textile industry created the fabric for the seats, while the Pinton mohair wool carpets and gold details are from the Parisian workshop Bertin-Aubert, an artisanal specialist founded in 1936. The dashboard incorporates a docking station phone case that complements the three minimalist dials (speed, battery charge, and time), surrounded by hand-woven horsehair fabric by Le Crin.

“My approach is to be as serious about strict design as I am about fantasy,” he admits. “They are both treated the same. Le Diamant is a balance between clean design and fantastical, almost surreal details.

“For the handles, I was inspired by earrings. The jewel-style headlights, which stand out proudly from the bodywork and the new gridded grille, are like emerald-cut diamonds in a clasp, but also benchmark spotlights on a rally car. The Renault 5 was an acclaimed racing car in its time.)

Other delightful details can be spotted around every corner. Renault’s famous logo has been a diamond since 1925 but was revamped last year by Gilles Vidal, VP, Renault Brand, Design. The aptly named Diamant logo incorporates the initials of Pierre Gonalons within the geometric shape, with gold letters interwoven in silver.

On the wheel, the hubcaps are finished with a striking sunburst detail. This refers to the historic ironwork that adorns the facades of Place Vendôme in Paris, a hotbed of French luxury design culture. “It’s a symbol of luxury, says Gonalons, but it’s also a tribute to French decorative arts, from Louis XIV, to Elsa Schiaparelli, to Thierry Mugler.

Gonalons started his own studio when he was just 23 years old, since then he has specialized in modern and elegant furniture and accessories, including pieces for Maison Dentsu in Paris, high-end retail spaces, facilities and hotel design. His next project for Renault will be to dip a toe into the metaverse, producing virtual designs that will be sold.

The Renault 5 Diamant will remain a unique piece, ultimately auctioned for Renault’s Give Me 5 CSR project. “The story will continue,” Gonalons said. Renault is also undergoing a complete overhaul. Fifty years after the original 5, a new model will soon emerge from the shadows. Evoking the sharp proportions of the original, Renault hopes it will be the marque’s equivalent of the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper.

Pierre Gonalons with the Renault 5 Diamant

Le Diamant follows Mathieu Lehanneur’s transformation of an original Renault 4 into a “mobile hotel room”, a concept project unveiled in October 2021.

Renault is unafraid to blend art, interiors, craftsmanship and automotive design, adding gleaming finishes, meticulous detailing and nods to old and new culture in its quest to once again become a decisive symbol of French industry and innovation. §


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