Dezeen Magazine

Sabine Marcelis reimagines Twingo as "inside-out car" with translucent steering wheel

Designer Sabine Marcelis has created her first car – a conceptual electric version of French car brand Renault's Twingo model, designed to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Marcelis designed the concept model of the Twingo, which was originally released in 1993, using her signature colour palette of translucent pastel hues.

The electric car's exterior is coloured in a semi-transparent matte white hue, while the interior features a translucent steering wheel in a nod to the designer's work in resin.

Photo of electric Twingo by Sabine Marcelis
The car has a translucent white exterior

Marcelis's prototype reprises some of the Twingo's "most recognisable" features, Renault said.

These include the car's single-volume silhouette, characteristic "frog-eye" headlights and modular interior.

"My challenge was to elevate them without losing their unique identity," Marcelis said.  "To bring all elements into a more luxurious realm, activated by light and materiality."

Characteristic headlights of Renault car
It features Twingo's characteristic "frog-eye" headlights

Her redesign also aims to draw attention to the car's details.

"It's a bit like an inside-out car, where the exterior is stripped of colour so that just the different translucencies of the PMMA [plexiglass] could be experienced," the designer told Dezeen.

"It allows you to see structural details when viewed from certain angles. It's being very honest to the way the car is produced – celebrating all details instead of hiding them."

Detail of Sabine Marcelis' Twingo for Renault
The Twingo has a white chassis

Marcelis looked at the "interplay between colours and materials" when designing the Twingo, which has a completely white chassis and all-white wheels.

Inside, a warm raspberry hue was used for the dashboard and headliner, with seats and other soft parts of the car clad in a red fabric shot through with purple threads.

Raspberry-red interior of Sabine Marcelis' Twingo
Sabine Marcelis's Twingo has a warm red interior

"The interior is very saturated in colour and stripped to the essentials, simplifying many elements into singular objects – like the sunshade and rearview mirror which are combined into a single element and the front seats are also merged into a single bench," Marcelis said.

"The choice of burgundy is an elevated use of the original Twingo red."

"The colour also evokes a cosy feeling – making the experience of being inside the car one of comfort and luxury," the designer added.

"The tactile experience of the interior is very important to the concept. Each material used inside has a different tactility and surface texture."

Peach-coloured steering wheel
A peach-coloured disc functions as a steering wheel

The translucent peach-coloured steering wheel was designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and still functional.

Marcelis described it as "a single disk with all the functionings of a steering wheel, whose shape reveals itself further when light catches the edges."

"By keeping the body thin but the edges a bit thicker, a nice grip for the hand is created and the saturation of colour intensifies towards the outer edges where it is thicker," she added.

Red sun visor in Twingo by Sabine Marcelis
Drivers would be protected from the sun by a red visor

The reimagined Twingo, which was unveiled at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, was retrofitted with an electric motor to symbolise Renault's "commitment to electric cars", with the company aiming to make all of its cars across Europe electric by 2030.

Renault has previously created a concept car with French designer Matthieu Lehanneur that saw him turn the Renault 4L into a nomadic hotel suite. This model was also retrofitted with an electric motor.

A recent Dezeen feature looked at how cars will begin to look "dramatically different" as electric vehicles become the norm.

The photography and video are by Studio Kleiner.

More images

Sabine Marcelis' Twingo for Renault
Sabine Marcelis' Twingo for Renault
Sabine Marcelis' Twingo for Renault
Sabine Marcelis' Twingo for Renault
Sabine Marcelis' Twingo for Renault