“There is no better designer than nature” – Alexander McQueen.
It seems that the designers at Nissan have heard this quote before, because nature has played a very large part in the new Nissan Cube. Hopefully, you have heard of the Nissan Cube, that funky little urban box with the strange asymmetrical window. If you haven’t seen it, check it out below, because I am sure you are going to feel very strongly about the design. You will either love it or hate it, and that feeling will come the instant you see the shape.
When I first spotted it on the highway, the Cube was bright silver and its shape stood out from all the boring cars around it. It looks much taller than an average car, and its shape makes it appear “still” while everything else on the road was moving. It’s a very strange design, and it is instantly recognizable even from a distance. To me, it looked like a nicely designed modern restroom from an upscale public park. The inset of the windows, and the rounded shape of the corners made me think of an adobe or concrete building. If, when I pulled alongside, I found that its surface was stucco, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Its just that strange and different from anything else on the road. The Cube’s windows have sills, like a building and their shape is not automotive at all. The front windows seems to surround the driver like a picture frame, the rear bumper which houses all of the standard lights, reminds me of a ’59 Lincoln and the nose looks like its wearing sunglasses.
Inside there are several things that grab you at once. First is plastic, it is everywhere, especially the wave dash. Once you get over the shock, you start to look around a little and notice that the theme of circles and ripples is almost everywhere. The headliner and carpet both resemble a Zen garden with the floor being the combed sand, and the headliner and speakers featuring ripples, like water in a pond after a stone was dropped in. There is an option for a 20 color interior light package that will probably be more distracting than talking on two cell phones at once (thanks guys). The dashboard has an optional shag carpeted oval that looks like fake grass in pictures and has absolutely no value whatsoever (that’s not design, its decoration) and the seats are covered in a material that has a very delicate wave pattern. Whichever committee designed this car, they took a fresh look at almost every part of the interior. The rest of the Cube is a car, which means that it does come equipped with an engine that allows you to drive slow or slower, and the ride is excellent in the city. Everything else is incidental.
The Cube looks like a sculpture from the Museum of Modern Art. Every angle of the Cube is familiar but still unrecognizable as a car. The wrap around window is great for the driver’s visibility, but bad for the people behind him, because you tend to stare at it, and then go into some hypnotic trance. If you see the Cube painted white, that window makes it look like the car is wearing a toga from behind. It’s unusual, but I have to give a lot of credit to the designers at Nissan. I have seen cube concepts at auto shows, but this is the closest interpretation of a concept I have ever seen for a production car. Love it or hate it, this is design, pure and simple.
Nissan gave their designers the freedom to do something different, something that was “outside the box” (pardon the pun) and this freedom is desperately needed throughout the auto industry. The Nissan Cube is a major leap forward for car design, not because the car is revolutionary, but because it was allowed to be revolutionary.
Originally published on www.cardesignreview.com / Photos courtesy of Nissan USA and cardomain.com
Article courtesy of Chris Raymond