duendepr.com news Mathieu Lehanneur reinvent Renault’s Pop icon 4L

Mathieu Lehanneur reinvent Renault’s Pop icon 4L


To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 4LMathieu Lehanneur was invited by French historic mobility brand Renault, a pioneer of electric vehicles in Europe, to reinvent it. 

Leave. To discover. To escape. Never before has the desire of elsewhere been so strong. Never before has the need for escape been so necessary. It is from this idea that Mathieu Lehanneur and Renault joined forces to invent a new travel experience. Designed from the legendary car 4L that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year Mathieu Lehanneur imagined a vehicle like a nomadic hotel suite, fully open to the outside and whose horizons can be continually renewed.


100% electric, SUITE N° 4 is an ode to escape, a bubble in its minimal luxury that is inspired both by the architecture and the environments in which it passes. As a room on four wheels, cozy and bathed in light, it combines a new art of living, in the city or in the countryside. SUITE N°4 is not a car, it is an architecture of travel. Renault 4L is a car that has become a success story, a legend. Manufactured in 28 countries, more than 8 million units have been sold in over 100 countries over 30 years. The result of Mathieu Lehanneur’s collaboration to Renault is SUITE N°4, an original concept car inspired by a nomad hotel suite that was unveiled last October 22, 2021, in Paris and will be showcased in Atelier Renault’s Champs Elysées showroom starting december 1rst, before Maison&Objet fair in january 20-24. 


Mathieu Lehanneur’s vision was fuelled by the parallel worlds of automobile and architecture. SUITE N°4 is a tribute to Renault 4L, channelling the same pure, understated and simple spirit while prioritising efficiency and spontaneity. On top, this concept car projects the model into the designer’s contemporary aspirations.“The collaboration with Mathieu Lehanneur was a natural fit.” said Arnaud Belloni, Renault Brand Global Marketing Director. “We asked him to come up with a concept car showcasing his vision for the 4L. The finished product is extraordinary. A car which really encapsulates everything the brand has set out to achieve through the “Renaulution” strategic plan: create modern and innovative cars that provoke emotions.”


“SUITE N°4 is a new mobility and travel experience. I wanted to merge the worlds of cars and architecture to create an open-air hotel room. Even better than the finest palatial suite, the car is exactly where you want it to be, whether that’s by the sea, in the middle of a field or driving around the city you’ve always dreamed of.” says Mathieu Lehanneur.

SUITE N°4 maintains the same exterior dimensions and lines as the iconic model but comes with a radical twist. The rear section and the hatch have been replaced with polycarbonate windows that provide transparency and lighting on a par with that of architectural glass. The transparent solar panels on the roof let light through while helping to charge the battery of the car, which has been retrofitted and now 100% electric.


Inside the car, Mathieu Lehanneur decided to let in the ambiance and materials proper of housing, and combine the automobile technical requirements and the sophistication of the French art de vivre. The seats and the dashboard are upholstered with an energetic yellow velvet. In contrast, the space on the back is finished with a thick, ribbed chenille fabric and accessorised with two laps, for a robust look. Bolsters and pillows complete the boot, transformed in a moving room. The experience is finalised by a wooden bench which slides like a drawer and can be extracted to provide sheltered seating when the hatch is open. Like for 4L back in the day, all of the materials are “made in France” and supplied by Paris based artisans.


The front of the car sports the same iconic lights, lines and silhouette as the original. The front grill in polished aluminium is both Lehanneur’s signature and an ode to evasion. It creates waves and gives the car a permanent effect of fluidity, dynamism and movement. The architectural inspiration can also be found on the body of the car, which is coated with three layers of paint that give it the mineral aspect of cement.


Download Q&A with Mathieu Lehanneur

Photos credits 1 & 8 by Felipe Ribon, 2 to 7 by Jason Yan Francis


ABOUT MATHIEU LEHANNEUR. At the forefront of international design scene, Mathieu Lehanneur is one of the rare designers of his generation to be able to embrace so many fields of creation: from the object to architecture, from art to product, from high-tech to craftsmanship. He innovates with spectacular and magical projects that mix design, art, science and technology the same time. Mathieu Lehanneur is ranked among the “100 World top designers and influencers ” by Wallpaper* and Surface magazines and is described as the “champion of intellectual agility in the field of contemporary design ” by Paola Antonelli, MoMA-NY’s Director.

 Since 2000 he has obtained numerous awards such as the “Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris”, the “Designer of the Year” at Maison & Objet, and the “Best Invention Award” awarded by the magazine American Popular Science for “Andrea”, a home air filtration system by plants, created in partnership with Harvard University and based on studies developed by NASA. He was invited to present his work and his approach at the TED Global conference in 2009. 

In 2012, a monograph was devoted to him by Editions Gestalten as well as a retrospective exhibition at the Grand Hornu – Center for innovation and design, in Belgium. In 2019, he was also invited to show his creative universe at Villa Noailles, France. His works and objects are part of the most important public and private collections of the world as MoMA, New York ;  SF-MoMA, San Francisco or Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris. Through his eponymous brand, Mathieu Lehanneur produces and distributes his creations and presents them in his spaces in Paris and New York. Also his company collaborates with prestigious institutions and brands such as Nike, Veuve Clicquot, Audemars Piguet, Renault, Kenzo, Guerlain, Air France, Musée du Louvre, Pullman Hotels, Cartier, Schneider Electric, JCDecaux, Becton Dickinson, or Sony.