March 18, 2005

Nissan Design America Opens $14 Million
Studio in Farmington Hills

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (March 17, 2005) - Iconic design and cutting-edge technology are the hallmarks of Nissan Design America-Farmington Hills, the newest chapter in Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.'s expanding global design footprint.  The new studio, which represents a $14 million investment, officially opened today in Farmington Hills, Mich., on the grounds of Nissan Technical Center North America, Inc.  The facility, a sister studio to Nissan Design America, Inc. (NDA) in San Diego, Calif., represents a tripling in size over the previous studio space - to 50,912 square feet.  Unique to the facility is  "The Egg,"  a 15,000-square foot outdoor viewing courtyard.
Once a small studio of 12 designers with a focus on final production design, the new studio has grown to more than 30 fulltime employees - with capabilities to accommodate a team of 45 - under Keisuke Otsuki, new director of design.
The studio works in conjunction with the San Diego studio and other studios globally to execute full-scale production design and exploratory design work, with design feasibility remaining a core responsibility.  The AZEAL Coupe Concept, first unveiled at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is the first concept car born out of NDA-Farmington Hills.

 "Nissan Design America was created 25 years ago with a vision of former Nissan President Takashi Ishihara,"  said Bruce Campbell, vice president, design, NDA.   "Their role was to feel the pulse of the North American market and respond with leading design.  This vision and role continues today.
 "NDA's role has been more than a concept studio.  The main diet of work is production cars and trucks,"  said Campbell.   "The Farmington Hills studio is a natural extension of this mission.  The close proximity of the major suppliers and Nissan's North American engineering and manufacturing facilities is important to conceive and execute industry-leading design." 
Nissan's global design growth plans also include an expansion of the San Diego studio, a new studio in central London, and new facilities under construction in Japan.  The increased focus on design and high level of integration among the studios is evidence of Nissan's unique design philosophy.
 "No one company is doing design like Nissan today,"  said Shiro Nakamura senior vice president, design, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and president, Nissan Design America.   "Nissan's bold and thoughtful designs and unique processes were integral to Nissan's revival and remain vital to its continued success.  This cross-global design expansion is proof of Nissan's commitment to design." 

The Studio
The Farmington Hills studio mirrors the capabilities of San Diego's yet maintains a character reflective of its culture - unique in its relationship to Nissan engineers and its location in the automotive hub of Detroit.  An open floor plan allows for all design groups to work together, creating a highly efficient, integrated design process.
 "Both the San Diego and Farmington Hills studios were conceived by designers, for designers,"  said Campbell.   "The environments celebrate and foster creative design.  Each studio reflects our design processes and core values." 
These core values are Humanistic - caring for and enriching people; Design Excellence - the quest to create global leading design; and Inclusiveness - to involve and integrate everyone throughout the process.
Several features make this studio unique:
 · The Egg, a 15,000-square-foot outdoor viewing courtyard, embodies the meshing of engineering and design.  Positioned to face due north for optimal light, The Egg allows designers to view their work in natural daylight, with the help of two turntables.  Its striking and unique oval design, surrounded by cantilevered walls wrapped in a double layer of stainless steel mesh, was engineered by A. Zahner Co., a Kansas City-based architectural metals firm known for executing some of the world's most outstanding and complicated metal facades.
 · The Power Wall, located off of the studio's loggia, is an 8-foot by 20-foot screen, created by EDS Corp., which allows designers in different studios to simultaneously analyze and manipulate large-scale computer-generated designs.  It represents the most modern of design communications tools.
 · The clay modeling bedplate is the longest in the automotive industry.  New, portable mills can work in tandem with clay modelers on this bedplate.  Over the bedplate is a newly designed ceiling that consists of a high-tech white fabric heated, stretched and fitted to a grid of box frames that encase 585 color corrected fluorescent tubes.  Located in a separate area is the Zimmerman mill, a fully automated mill that can translate design into a full-scale model with the utmost of precision. 

The studio represents an architectural collaboration between Luce et Studio of San Diego, which served as the design architect, and Albert Kahn Associates of Detroit, which served as executive architect.  The tall doors, wide hallways and durable materials are designed to accommodate not just the designers, but also the vehicles they design. 
Great effort was made to incorporate recycled and recyclable materials wherever possible within the studio's design.  Aluminum panels in the loggia are recycled automotive bodies and typically are used for lining in aircraft body; the rubber seen in the loggia's doors and windows comes from recycled tires; and the felt covering portions of the studio's walls and ceilings is made out of wool from recycled sweaters.
 "Both the Farmington and San Diego studio design concepts were fueled by 'like-minded' research about new materials and their creative applications,"  said Jennifer Luce, principal of Luce et Studio.   "The architects and Nissan shared a dialogue about materials that resulted in a carefully sequenced architectural composition." 
Thoughtful use of materials continues into the Power Wall room.  Sheltered by a 35-foot wide, 20-foot tall sliding California Redwood clad door, the interior surfaces of the room are lined with bleached oak, indigenous to the Michigan landscape, representing the locations of NDA's two studios.  Materials, from the porous steel of The Egg to glass elements throughout, reflect a translucency core to the Nissan design philosophy.

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