French designer Stéphane Janin has jumped ship from one member of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance to another, waving goodbye to Renault’s Guyancourt studio to join Nissan’s upmarket Infiniti brand in Japan.
Janin takes on the role of Brand and Strategy Design Director for Infiniti, a job that encompasses design strategy, advanced design and concept cars, according to the company. Janin will report to Karim Habib, Infiniti’s Executive Design Director. Like Habib, he will be based at Infiniti’s main Atsugi studio on the outskirts of Tokyo – the brand also has satellite studios in London, San Diego and Beijing.
Stephane explained his move to us: “After having worked on the new Renault line up (exterior design) from 2009 to 2014 when Laurens [van den Acker] arrived and having had the chance to lead the concept car activity from Trezor to EZ-Ultimo (2014 to 2018), I thought it was time for me to move,” he said.
“The Infiniti brand and Japanese culture are a dream for me – I’ve always been very passionate about Japanese architecture and design. Plus working for Karim, who I appreciate as a person and admire for his work at BMW, facilitated my decision. I’m currently in charge of brand strategy, advanced phase, concept cars and ‘creative culture’ ...no time to get bored!”
A long-time Renault veteran, Janin joined the French firm in 1997 after graduating from London’s RCA with an MA in vehicle design. He had also studied industrial design at ENSAAMA in Paris and completed a year of transportation design at Coventry.
In his most recent role as Director of Concept Cars at Renault, Janin oversaw a batch of much-admired show cars including the Renault EZ-Ultimo autonomous limousine, EZ-GO ride-sharing people carrier, Symbioz house-plus-car combination, and the sleek Trezor electric GT.
Trezor was voted the most beautiful concept at Villa d’Este in the summer of 2017 and was also the recipient of our own Concept Car of the Year award at Geneva the same year.
If you’d like to read more about Janin and his work, we published an in-depth interview in our CDR4 yearbook.