Mathieu Lehanneur was invited by French historic mobility brand Renault to reinvent the legendary car 4L that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
“Leave. To discover. To escape. Never before has the desire of elsewhere been so strong. Never before has the need for escape been so necessary. It is from this idea that Mathieu Lehanneur and Renault joined forces to invent a new travel experience”.
Designed from the 4L, Mathieu Lehanneur imagined a vehicle like a nomadic hotel suite, fully open to the outside and whose horizons can be continually renewed.
The result of Mathieu Lehanneur’s collaboration to Renault is the 100% electric SUITE N° 4 , an ode to escape, a bubble in its minimal luxury that is inspired both by the architecture and the environments in which it passes. As a room on four wheels, cozy and bathed in light, it combines a new art of living, in the city or in the countryside. SUITE N°4 is not a car, it is an architecture of travel.
Mathieu Lehanneur’s vision was fuelled by the parallel worlds of automobile and architecture. SUITE N°4 is a tribute to Renault 4L, channelling the same pure, understated and simple spirit while prioritising efficiency and spontaneity. On top, this concept car projects the model into the designer’s contemporary aspirations.
“SUITE N°4 is a new mobility and travel experience. I wanted to merge the worlds of cars and architecture to create an open-air hotel room. Even better than the finest palatial suite, the car is exactly where you want it to be, whether that’s by the sea, in the middle of a field or driving around the city you’ve always dreamed of.” says Mathieu Lehanneur.
SUITE N°4 maintains the same exterior dimensions and lines as the iconic model but comes with a radical twist. The rear section and the hatch have been replaced with polycarbonate windows that provide transparency and lighting on a par with that of architectural glass. The transparent solar panels on the roof let light through while helping to charge the battery of the car, which has been retrofitted and now 100% electric.
Inside the car, Mathieu Lehanneur decided to let in the ambiance and materials proper of housing, and combine the automobile technical requirements and the sophistication of the French art de vivre. The seats and the dashboard are upholstered with an energetic yellow velvet. In contrast, the space on the back is finished with a thick, ribbed chenille fabric and accessorised with two laps, for a robust look. Bolsters and pillows complete the boot, transformed in a moving room. The experience is finalised by a wooden bench which slides like a drawer and can be extracted to provide sheltered seating when the hatch is open. Like for 4L back in the day, all of the materials are “made in France” and supplied by Paris based artisans.
The front of the car sports the same iconic lights, lines and silhouette as the original. The front grill in polished aluminium is both Lehanneur’s signature and an ode to evasion. It creates waves and gives the car a permanent effect of fluidity, dynamism and movement. The architectural inspiration can also be found on the body of the car, which is coated with three layers of paint that give it the mineral aspect of cement.