«Patrick le Quément of Renault was the most imaginative designer at work in the mainstream car industry in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. While others just designed shapes, le Quément thougth in terms of entire new formats». Extract from the book: «Design, Intelligence ...
«Patrick le Quément of Renault was the most imaginative designer at work in the mainstream car industry in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. While others just designed shapes, le Quément thougth in terms of entire new formats». Extract from the book: «Design, Intelligence Made visible» by Stephen Bayley and Terence Conran.
Patrick le Quément is currently a Consultant in Design Strategy and Management. Born in Marseilles from a French father and an English mother. He studied in Great Britain where he stayed until 1966, in which year he graduated from the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design with a BA in Product Design Engineering under his belt. His first job was as an automobile designer with Simca, where he only remained for one year, harbouring, in fact, a burning desire to try his hand as a freelance. The company he founded in partnership with fellow designer, John Pinko, “Style International”, did not survive the deep economic depression arriving in the wake of the Events of May 68.
He returned to auto design, with Ford, a company that would be home for 17 years, working by turns in the UK, Germany and the United States as well as carrying out projects in Brazil, Australia and Japan. In 1969, whilst working as senior designer, Uwe Bahnsen, a Design Director in Ford of Europe, suggested he follow a two year post graduate course in Business Administration at Danbury Management Centre, University of Essex. In 1981, whilst working as Design Executive in charge of truck design and advanced exterior design, he drew his first ever plaudits from the Design community for his work on the Cargo truck. Then, out of a range of projects over which he had responsibility, the Ford Sierra in Germany in 1982 emerged as a major commercial success and represented a landmark in the history of auto design. In June 1985, he set off for the United States, the task being to prepare him to step into the shoes of Uwe Bahnsen who was then, Vice President of Design. The working conditions he encountered there fell short of what had been agreed and he resigned, in order to retrace his steps to Europe, where Carl Hahn, chairman of the Volkswagen-Audi Group, invited him to set up a Centre for Advanced Design and Strategy
During the course of 1987, an even more attractive proposition came his way: to take charge of Renault’s style department, with carte blanche from Raymond H. Lévy, the company’s Chairman and CEO, to effect any changes he saw fit in order to turn the design function into a strategic corporate tool. Thus, in January 1988, under his drive and vision, appeared and moved forward the Direction of Renault Corporate Design, replacing the former Renault Style function; amongst other production models, we saw emerge Twingo (1993), Scenic (1996), Espace III and IV, Kangoo (1998), Laguna II (1994), Mégane II (2002), Clio III (2005). Since 1988, we witnessed the arrival of around twenty concept cars, spearheading Renault’s campaign to build the image of innovation and quality it enjoys today. As 1994 drew to a close, Patrick le Quément was appointed to also take charge of Quality, in addition to his Corporate Design responsibilities. At the start of 1999, in the wake of the signing of the deal with Nissan Motors, Louis Schweitzer, Chairman and CEO of Renault, asked him to focus his energies once more exclusively on Design. He is also asked to help Nissan Design to return rapidly to a high level of creativity. He becomes Chairman of the Joint Design Policy Group which manages design policy within the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Patrick le Quément has received numerous awards. Three of them deserve a special mention: the French Grand Prix National for Industrial Design (1992), the award of Doctor of the University of Central England (1996) and the award of Knight of the « Ordre National » of the French Legion of Honour (1998); they emphasize that Patrick le Quément’s merit goes far beyond the creation of innovative models; the whole industrial design community owes to him a clear demonstration that a design department can play a major role in the strategy of a large company; the choice by Renault of its new signature, « Renault. Créateur d’Automobiles », follows from this fact. Outside as inside Renault, Patrick le Quément has become a reference in terms of creative management and prospective. In 2002, he was voted by his peers « European Car Designer of the Year » in special recognition for his audacious and innovating Design. In the same year, the Raymond Loewy Foundation named him « Lucky Strike Designer Award » in recognition for his lifetime contribution to Design. He was awarded in Madrid in 2004 “Personality of the Decade” by Car and Driver, a publication of Hachette/Filippachi Group. He left Renault in November 2009 to create his own consultancy.