The global structure of Nissan Design and the role of Shiro Nakamura, its director since Autumn 1999.
Auto & Design 142 devotes a dossier to the Japanese brand’s design centres around the world, at a time when its products are doing particularly well in the world’s markets. Nissan’s HQ at Atsugi, its Creative Box unit in the heart of Tokyo, its American design centre at La Jolla, California and its European equivalent in the Paddington district of London are the nerve centres of Nissan design today, following the reorganisation launched when Nakamura arrived on the scene, which has enabled the company to rationalise the work done by each centre and facilitate cooperation between them.
A process based on sound foundations, that nevertheless demanded a thorough overhaul of the Nissan design centres’ geographical distribution and organisation, as Nakamura explains. “In Japan, the USA and Europe, we could already count on a treasure house of high quality, versatile creativity; on the best professionals and unrivalled skills in converting ideas into reality. What we lacked was a control centre, to coordinate the role and the output of each centre, as well as their relationships with each other and with Head Office”.
Four years after his arrival in Nissan, the Atsugi and Creative Box buildings have been restructured, the European design operation has been moved from Munich to London, and a system has been set up to link the various centres and coordinate the work of their staffs. At this point, the Nissan design mechanism is ready to roll, equipped to work single-mindedly, despite geographical distances, in a way that makes the most of individuals’ creativity and the inputs from their various cultural settings, under the banner of a shared brand and a shared identity.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 142