Japanese DNA: designers inspired by Japanese design and architecture

We considered where we have been in our 30-year life, and where we want to go. We contemplated what it means to be Japanese, and how that resonates for INFINITI. One idea struck a chord with all of us – the concept of ‘Ma’, or the mastery of the empty space, which can be full of meaning and potential. Imagine someone clapping, the empty sound between claps is full of anticipation. In this way, the electrification of INFINITI will bring a new simplicity and excitement to the brand.
- Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co.

  • Exterior design inspired by the Japanese spatial concept of ‘Ma’ – a focus on the open spaces between lines
  • Body surfaces and creases influenced by origami, with design details drawing on elements of Japanese art and architecture

Perhaps more so than any INFINITI created during the company’s 30-year existence, the QX Inspiration concept explores and actively draws upon the company’s Japanese roots.

“We have focused on the lines and the space in between. What is happening in the space between the lines – the free, natural flow of surfaces – is truly expressive. It’s the empty space between the edges that often carries the loudest message.”

- Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Underpinning the aesthetic of the exterior is the Japanese spatial concept of ‘Ma’ – the mastery of empty space. For INFINITI’s designers, this meant adopting an approach which focused on the open space between the concept’s lines. To achieve this mastery of open space, the brand’s designers were drawn to the character of paper and the Japanese art of paperfolding, origami. Infused with Japanese DNA, the elegant exterior of the QX Inspiration is derived from the artistic coaxing, folding and slicing of paper into different shapes.

The concept’s sharp lines and modern aesthetics are enhanced by a series of high-precision details, formed of a pattern repeated throughout the exterior and interior. The pattern is made up of thin lines and arranged into near-perpendicular forms, a modern interpretation of the historic architectural design of Japanese timber louvers used in construction. Traditional by nature, yet increasingly adopted in contemporary Japanese architecture, the louver-inspired lines appear in the front and rear lamps and on the surface of the 22-inch alloy wheels. Furthermore, the roof of the QX Inspiration is formed of louvered slats made of Japanese red cedar (or ‘sugi’), giving occupants a stunning view of the sky above and lending a sense of Japanese architectural modernity to the exterior.

Further reference to the car’s Japanese DNA can be found in the three colors used across the exterior. The QX Inspiration is finished in Liquid White pearlescent paint, inspired by the winter snows of Mount Fuji. In addition, highlights on the D-pillar and wheels are finished with two new signature color treatments, gold and vermilion – inspired by Japanese urushi lacquerware and gold kintsugi ceramic work.

Vermilion – a soft, warm shade of red – was widely used in traditional Japanese lacquerware. If lacquered ceramics were broken, they were often reformed with the kintsugi technique: that of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered silver, gold or platinum. Together, vermilion and gold were often used in painted Japanese artwork to express the power and energy of the sun.