The special Infiniti Q50 and QX70 models are the first one-off fruit of a creative collaboration between two exceptional premium brands: the luxury performance car maker Infiniti and renowned Italian furniture and leather specialist Poltrona Frau.
The cars are being unveiled at an exclusive Poltrona Frau event in Milan on the occasion of the 2014 Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, the world famous Milan Furniture Fair which runs from 8-13 April. Both the one-off models have been transformed at Poltrona Frau’s HQ in Tolentino, Italy, using techniques and materials from its award-winning furniture collection.
“This was a great opportunity for two premium, luxury brands to work together. The project started very naturally, based on mutual appreciation and respect for each other’s unique brand spirit and vision”, said Shiro Nakamura, Infiniti’s Chief Creative Officer.
“The Infiniti design team was highly inspired by Poltrona Frau’s modernity, coupled with a great historic heritage and overwhelming craftsmanship.
“The result of our common goal deserves to be exhibited as pure artwork at a special event within the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano in order to provide the public with a provocative opportunity to experience Infiniti’s predominant brand expression.”
The “good” Infiniti Q50, with its pure hybrid power reflected by a gleaming white body and interior of softest white leather, is joined by Infiniti’s design icon, the QX70 – the other half of a very dynamic duo but a car unquestionably from the dark side. Black, mean and V8-powered, the Poltrona Frau QX70 is as menacing as the Poltrona Frau Q50 is innocent.
Despite their polar opposite characters, “good and evil” display the same obsession with precision and passion that characterizes both brands.
“Both the Q50 and the QX70 have strong personalities already,” said Infiniti’s Executive Design Director, Alfonso Albaisa. “With this project we have made those personalities even more vivid so they perfectly capture not just Infiniti’s provocative nature but also our duality of traditional processes and modern outcomes.”
Albaisa added: “Working with Poltrona Frau in such a creative collaboration has opened a door for us into a world of design and craftsmanship outside the luxury automotive establishment.”
Piero Valentini, Managing Director of Poltrona Frau’s Interiors in Motion division, said extending the qualities that have marked out Poltrona Frau’s leather furniture for more than 100 years to an automotive project for Infiniti was a natural move.
“The challenge for us has been to transfer the best from our furniture, the attention to detail and Poltrona Frau signatures, into the cars. Poltrona Frau and Infiniti have a lot in common – elegance, precision and a passion for the details – and we have worked very well together.
“Our approach is that we want to be at the top of the pyramid in everything we do, so it is natural for us to work with Infiniti,” added Valentini.
A large part of the cars’ unique appearance is down to their colour schemes – they are inspired by hues from the Pelle Frau® Colour System leather for home furniture, further reinforcing the link between top-level furniture design and the automotive world.
For the QX70, Infiniti and Poltrona Frau designers decided on Pelle Frau® Soul Salomon Black leather with contrasting leather in Ribes (a dark, blackberry red). Ribes is also the exterior highlight colour, used on the lower bumper sections and grille slats. The roof rails are trimmed in Ribes leather, setting off the special black body, black satin trim and black 21-inch wheels to perfection.
The Q50 is truly a knight in shining white armour: the exterior colour here is Zinco with a Lava (light blue) contrast, again both colours until now more associated with Poltrona Frau furniture than cars. White wheels, satin finish trim and, most indulgently, pure white leather-trimmed exterior mirrors complete the picture.
Poltrona Frau’s softest furniture-grade leather from the Italian firm’s famous 21-step tanning process is used throughout cars, ensuring not just exquisite looks but an unmistakable aura of sensuality. Twenty hides – about 100 sq m – were used in each car, all of them sourced from cattle in Arzignano, near Vicenza.
One hundred different leather sections, ranging in size from large headlining to small trim around the gearshift paddles, had to be hand-cut and hand-applied to each car. Virtually every surface inside was given the Poltrona Frau treatment; the cutting, sewing and wrapping alone took three specialists almost 500 hours of work for each car.
The first appearance by “good and evil” is at an exclusive media/VIP unveiling at the Fonderie Napoleoniche exhibition building in Milan, to correspond with an exhibition of the work architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, which runs concurrently with the Milan Furniture Fair.
The Infiniti Q50, available in hybrid, petrol and diesel forms, is a compact four-door sedan whose innovative technology allied to modern luxury has made it Infiniti’s most successful model in Europe since it went on sale in 2013. The QX70 (formerly the Infiniti FX) is the original sports car SUV. Its iconic design and high performance are recognised as class-leading in countries around the world.