Much of the architecture and design that we think of, and even still refer to as modern, is really getting to be fairly old at this point. The popular modernist design movements of the ’50s and ’60s had their roots back in the period between WWI and WWII, when a handful of pioneers shaped what it is to look modern. In America, we had the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, but for the French, the biggest influence was a man who called himself simply “Le Corbusier.” Le Corbusier (born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris) didn’t design cars, but Renault wanted to pay tribute to the man with a car that incorporated elements of both his design style and also the art deco cars of the ’30s.

The concept is called the Coupe Corbusier, and Renault seems so enamored of the man that the press release says practically nothing about the car itself. But, since the car is a design study, and not a concept that seems in any way intended for production, it is far more important for it to be interesting than for us to know any real details about it. It is indeed very interesting, and even for a concept, it is unusual. But, in a good way.

Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Coupe Corbusier Concept.

  • 2015 Renault Coupe Corbusier Concept
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2015 Renault Coupe Corbusier Concept High Resolution Exterior
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One certainly wouldn’t call the Corbusier retro, but there are still elements of the great French cars of the ’30s in the concept’s design. It has the long hood and bulging fenders favored at that time, and its art deco grille might be a little more abstract than what you’d find in the ’30s, but was still clearly influenced by the same design style. The car also has a very short greenhouse, reminiscent of a number of the custom coachworks of Gangloff, which — like Le Corbusier himself — was a mix of Swiss and French. More importantly, it bears a similarity to the narrow windows of Villa Savoye, generally considered to be Le Corbusier’s greatest work, which is mentioned in Renault’s press release.

The car appears to be absolutely massive, and this includes a pair of giant butterfly doors that are hinged at the rear. Rear-hinged doors were common on expensive European coupes in the ’30s, but the butterfly opening certainly was not. The roof that slopes in the back was common during the art deco period as well, although it certainly wasn’t unique to that period.


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Renault hasn’t given us much of a look at the inside of the car, and the press release certainly doesn’t have much to say about it. It is definitely illuminated in purple, and there seem to be some kind of large, transparent screens in front of both of the two seats. Perhaps this is some sort of heads-up display? Whatever is going on there, it certainly seems to be some kind of wacky, sci-fi interior, which I’m fine with. There are only two seats (two-seat coupes were more popular that 2+2s in the ’30s), but there is quite a lot of space behind those seats. It’s difficult to see what is really going on back there, but it is potentially a massive amount of space for luggage - like a month of vacation’s worth.


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With so little said about the design of the car, it’s no surprise that Renault hasn’t said anything at all about what would make it go. A lot of the time, concepts like these are electric, but there is a notable V-shaped indentation in the hood of this concept that seems to hind at an internal combustion engine. If those are indeed intake runners visible in the middle of the V, and they might as well be so long as we’re just guessing wildly, then it would seem that the car is powered by a V-12. This goes some way toward explaining the length of the hood, although there seems to still be plenty of extra space under there.


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We come away from this introduction to the Coupe Corbusier not knowing too much more about the car, but that makes absolutely no difference. The car is just meant to be interesting, and to pay tribute to Le Corbusier, with 2015 being the 50th anniversary of his death. And, the car is definitely interesting, not to mention striking. It is somewhat reminiscent of Cadillac’s Sixteen concept of 2003, a gloriously excessive coupe meant to invoke the best parts of design from the ’30s. The approach is different, but the aim is very similar. I loved the Sixteen and I love this, now if only Renault would at least consider building it. Somehow, I don’t see that happening.

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    • Land yacht proportions
    • Seats look hideously uncomfortable
    • No actual information about almost anything
Jacob Joseph
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Press Release

Groupe Renault’s industrial design team is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the disappearance of Le Corbusier (1965-2015) by designing and creating a project for a 21st century car inspired by the architect’s modernist principles and theories
The interwar period saw the birth of modern architecture and the modern automobile. These developments had a major impact on lifestyles, particularly through the growth in car ownership in Europe and worldwide after 1945
The Villa Savoye is an icon of modernity. Designed as a modern and ideal holiday home, it was a part of the upward trend in country houses in Ile de France that was underpinned by the rise of the automobile. The Villa Savoye establishes an intimate relationship between automobile and architecture

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Extraordinary genesis

It all began two years ago. The Design teams at Groupe Renault regularly work on future-looking topics unrelated to our range renewals. The exercise helps them to explore new ways forward and brings creative staff “recreational” moments.

The teams decided to investigate the topic of “French cultural objects”. Their research and inspirations soon led them back to the golden age of the automobile in the 1930s. The influence of Le Corbusier asserted itself as the obvious source of reflection, as a sort of conceptual prequel to the modern automobile.

The ideas of simplicity, visible and aesthetically-assumed structure, geometric elegance and mastery of light guided the designers in the creation of the Coupé Corbusier concept car.

The Design teams at Groupe Renault are proud to pay homage to the visionary architect and designer who reinvented architecture and made it more broadly accessible. His thought and value structure is one that we share at Renault.

Renault’s commitment to art

Renault’s unique art collection, innovative in its conception and original in its configuration, comprises over 300 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and architectural installations produced by some 30 major artists, French and international, between 1967 and 1985.

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The collection’s singularity is largely the result of the original approach adapted by Renault. The aim from the start was not to buy finished works ready for sale but to forge a collaborative effort with contemporary artists interested in the industrial world. The company did so by providing them with logistical, technological and financial assistance so that they could create original works in the best possible conditions.

The Renault collection today embodies the Group’s key values of vision, innovation, boldness and altruism. Exhibitions including selected works are organized on a regular basis in the major museums of Renault’s operating countries.

Renault continues to commission works from artists in the countries in which it organizes exhibitions. Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Turkish artist Arslan Sükan and, more recently, Chinese artists Wen Fang and He An have thus joined Renault’s collection.

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