Nissan - Chappo
Original name: ニッサン Chappo
NISSAN CHAPPO CONCEPT UNVEILED AT2001 GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
The Chappo concept is unusual because, unlike most concept cars, it isn’t designed from the outside in, it is designed from the inside out. So while this asymmetrical, compact, tall-two-box city car has a uniquely innovative exterior shape, what’s far more important is what Nissan’s designers have achieved inside - a new approach to interior space.
The Chappo concept is designed in anticipation of a future generation of young, sophisticated, city-car users who want their car to be more than a means of transport. A generation for which the car has also become a social space for people to gather: their mobile space.
It is a car with the space and equipment to become a ‘living-room on wheels’. A place for one person to relax in calm surroundings, to meet with friends, to work, to enjoy music or videos, maybe to surf the web or to play interactive games.
The design theme of Chappo shows clear signs of Nissan’s Japanese roots, but interpreted in a futuristic way. It reiterates themes of a traditional tearoom and incorporates styling cues inspired by Japan’s typical tatami texture and circular windows. The name Chappo also picks up on Nissan’s rich history of design as it is similar in name to one of Nissan’s pike cars, the Chapeau. This is indicative of Nissan’s intention to innovate while making good use of one its core equities – its rich heritage in design.
THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE CONCEPT CAR
“There were times when Nissan imagination and passion surprised the world,” said Carlos Ghosn, President of Nissan Motor Company Ltd., at a public speech, so Nissan looked at its heritage, took the best out of it, and the new Nissan brand was defined from within. “The direction for the Chappo came from head of design Shiro Nakamura, and was developed at Nissan Technical Centre in Japan. The project typifies a new energy in Nissan’s creative operations. It is a concept which breaks the bounds of convention, yet retains an eye on reality. The Chappo concept is based on the idea of a house over-looking a Zen garden. It is defined by Nissan’s designers as a “room on wheels” and the garden can be anything from an urban cityscape to a beautiful bay.
When Nissan’s designers imagined the Chappo concept they considered the needs of a new, cross-national generation of young people who would normally be in their mid to late twenties, living at home, and enjoying a reasonably high disposable income. They like the functionality and comforts of hi-tech, digital features and make extensive use of these in their busy social lives. “The Nissan Chappo is designed to reflect the fact that across the world, youth demands increasingly personal and diverse solutions to lifestyle and recreational needs,” said Shiro Nakamura, Vice President, Design Division at Nissan Motor Ltd.
The Chappo offers them the opportunity to move their room, with its comfort and features, wherever they want to go whether that is near a city park, in a garden, by the sea or the river, maybe in the mountains.
"We conceived the unique interior of the Nissan Chappo not just for driving, but as a social space where young people will want to meet and relax. The dual-entry door opens both ways to allow easy ingress and egress for all possible configurations of our versatile interior. The ingenious L-shape seating creates a futuristic living room on wheels."
Kaoru Satou, Chief Designer, Interior, Chappo concept.
The basic shape of the Chappo is that of a tall but compact three-door city car, but the tall body gives far more headroom and the interior layout gives more space, with incredibly high flexibility.
"I have used strong but simple planes combined with subtle angles to give the YYC an almost two dimensional appearance. We opted for an asymmetric exterior design to reflect and enhance the very special interior layout."
Taro Ueda, Chief Designer, Exterior, Chappo concept.
The Chappo reflects Nissan’s new direction of contrasts supported by heritage, maintaining a strong and recognisable Nissan character, however different the car might seem. Like the acclaimed Primera Concept, proposed to the public at the Paris Motor Show last October, it combines elements of warm and cold, man and machine, personality and technology - looking to the future while recharging the positive elements of Nissan’s rich heritage.
BREAKING WITH CONVENTION
Three key words sum up the exterior of the Chappo concept car. Square – reflected in the lights, grille, and door handles. Iconic – simple, memorable features such as the curved X-shape made by the side windows. Asymmetric – the L-shape and glass roof expressing the independent nature of the individuals.
From above the large L-shaped glass roof panel, runs almost the full length and width of the roof reflecting the L-shaped seating layout below. Inside the Chappo, the dashboard sweeps around the front of the car and its coloured, asymmetric line runs through the sides of the interior. The area where the front passenger seat would usually be is open, but with a number of possibilities. On the road, the rear passenger-side seat can slide forward to sit almost alongside the driver - slightly behind, but perfect for communication when driving. When the Chappo is parked, that passenger seat can be returned to the rear, and the driver’s seat can be moved in several ways. To make clear space for it to be turned in any direction, the steering wheel can be retracted virtually flush with the dashboard, at the touch of a button on the instrument panel. The driver’s seat can be swivelled, to face the seats in the rear corner of the ‘room’. It can be swivelled and its backrest laid flat to form the long side of the full L-shaped bench, or it can be folded flat across the front of the cabin to produce a second bench facing the other seats or to serve as a leg support for those sitting in the back.
On the right side of the Chappo concept car the door is bigger, and introduces a new technology for a higher level of versatility. The Nissan designers call it the “magic door” and created it to maximise both the functionality of the car and the possibility to enjoy a scenic view. Anyone in the cabin can make the most of their chosen view, however the car is parked. The clever asymmetrical pillar layout and large, uninterrupted sweeps of side glass also contribute to that broad view of the outside world.
The wide and deep dual-entry door can open from either edge. Each hinge can be an electronically controlled lock, or each lock a hinge, depending on which of the two handles is used. Pull the one in the rear edge of the door and it opens conventionally from the back; pull the one on the front edge and it opens from the front.
The materials and colours inside emphasise classic Japanese design themes for their elegant, geometric simplicity. Soft greys and warm reds are the predominant colours, and the square pattern of Japanese ‘tatami’ woven rugs appears in seat and floor coverings - in durable soft-touch high-tech materials. All combine modernity with tradition.
The recurring theme of square motifs suggests both tatami and the familiar Japanese room-divider frames. The round and part-round elements echo elegant architectural window shapes, and both shapes appear inside and outside the Chappo, in subtle variations. On the outside, the headlamps use optic fibres and square lenses; the grille is composed of square apertures arranged to suggest the corporate hallmark, flanking a bold new Nissan logo. Many detail parts carry the square motif. The round shapes appear in areas from the individually adjustable headrests and seat bases, to the dashboard, to the asymmetrical roof pillars.
THE INTERACTIVE CAR
Beyond being a comfortable and stylish place to meet, and from where to enjoy the view, the Chappo offers many technical and practical features. There are two information screens, a 7-inch monitor which pops up from the centre console, and a 15-inch monitor which folds down from the front passenger area ceiling. The 7-inch monitor is raised from a second instrument panel switch that mirrors the position of that which retracts the steering wheel. Everything on this monitor is user-information orientated, uses a combination of steering wheel thumb control or touch-screen operation, and is GPS-linked for full interactivity. Its functions include satellite navigation, air-conditioning and music-system controls, and practical information.
The 7-inch monitor uses a wide screen format and extremely high resolution, for the world’s best image quality. Its software combines available technology with creativity, to offer usable functions, not just functions for the sake of numbers. It can offer innovative graphic representations of the speaker volume levels, and can do a similar thing with temperature control and air distribution, and by combining several functions it can select almost any cabin ambience - from temperature to lighting levels to sound system balance, just as in a room. If the exterior air quality is bad, the system will automatically close all windows and vents to make best use of the Chappo’s filtered air system. It can even let you design your own on-screen clock - with a range of number and hand styles, face colours and backgrounds.
It can plan a route, using real-time traffic news, to arrive at a destination at an estimated time. While on that route (stopping if necessary for safety) it can access news, text messages, voice messages, and video mail, which the Chappo can also send, using a tiny camera in front of the driver. Spoken information, such as the voice used by the navigation system, can also be programmed with downloaded samples. The system can access information on, for instance, restaurants (driven by locations, food preferences, price ranges and more), sports events, cultural locations, parking possibilities, and many other kinds of useful information.
The 15-inch screen, and its laptop type keyboard (which stows under the passenger side of the dashboard), offer a huge range of further options - in fact virtually as much as any home or office based rival. Those can include television, DVD movies, games, internet access, out-of-office working and link-up options.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Chappo’s two-box, geometric shape with short, high nose, is absolutely functional, and utterly distinctive – in contrast to both the rounded and asymmetrical features of the car. As well as the L-shaped roof glass its asymmetry extends to the positions of all the exterior pillars, to the differently sized exterior mirrors, the lighting (with the tail lamps located behind the wrap around glazing), even the back-up lamp and dozens of other details. The body is in a soft grey with subtle hints of ‘Chromaflare’ pink, the tinted glass picks up the pink hints, and the tyres are almost as pale a grey as the body.