Alfonso Albasia – The Mind Behind INFINITI Design
If you have ever wondered what goes into crafting the exquisite style behind INFINITI cars, crossovers and SUVs, here is a peek at the mind behind the design. Alfonso Albasia is executive design director, INFINITI Motor Company. He is also a corporate vice president. His 28 year career with Nissan and INFINITI began in a small studio in California.
Excepts from Interview with Alfonso, Albania
“In 1999 or 2000, working at Nissan Design America, I saw some photographs from Japan of three models of a project that I really did not know much about, a completely new category of vehicle. At first glance, it was a ‘wow’ moment. At second glance: ‘WOW.’ They were part SUV, part sports coupe. But you have to realize that 16 years ago, crossovers did not exist. This combination of aspects was so fresh and unseen. I just stared at the images: ‘What are these cars?’ One of the vehicles was what would become the first INFINITI FX. It was amazing to me that something so visually powerful could possess such simplicity in its design.
“What made it visually powerful was its silhouette, its gesture! It was like an egg that had bitten into an aircraft carrier. The hood was so long and horizontal, yet the cabin so tight and arced. It had so much attitude. I remember when I saw the first one on the road three years later, I simply smiled, knowing how back in Japan, they had really pulled it off, making such an effortlessly iconic vehicle and keeping true to the original vision.
“INFINITI is an ideal place to work for a designer, as the whole culture of the company supports – better yet, requires – the process of allowing someone to come up with an idea that is fundamentally unique. Big or small, these innovative ideas are for me a form of artistry, and INFINITI is the ultimate manifestation of automotive art. Michelangelo celebrated physical beauty, and Da Vinci celebrated the beauty of ingenuity. If we could capture the hearts and minds of these two gentlemen, everyone would fall in love with our automobiles. With INFINITI , the attitude of the car and the artistry of the body and how it melds seamlessly with our advanced engineering make us unique in the automotive marketplace.
“I am now corporate vice president of our global design function. I’m still heavily involved with the creative side, but I am also managing our global resources. As my teams and I map out the next midterm plan, we wonder how, through management of teams, facilities and resources, we can ensure and commit that our culture will continue to be a creative community efficiently executing world-class designs. We are asking contributions from our teams in Atsugi, Harajuku, Beijing, London, Rio, Bangkok and San Diego, to consider how we work today and how we can continue improving even beyond the pace of a hyper competitive global marketplace.