july 31, 2020 - Infiniti

20 years later: retrospective on the FX – an interview with INFINITI Design

The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary since the INFINITIdesign team finalized the groundbreaking FX45 concept. As history notes, the FX45 concept would evolve into two generations of a much-loved production vehicle named the #Infiniti FX, a vehicle that created a new segment and became an icon for the #Infiniti brand.

We sat down with the brand’s global #design team to discuss the FX, its influence on their work and the brand.

Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for Global #design, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., is responsible for Nissan and #Infiniti #design and recounts seeing the FX for the first time and the impression it’s has on him.

Q. Do you remember your first impression when you first laid eyes on the FX?
A. “The first time I saw it was so arresting, because something quite simple was so iconic with the straight shoulder line, very long hood and this arching DLO (Daylight Opening / Glass house) it was like something I had never seen before, it was an invention.”

Q. In your words, how would you describe the #Infiniti FX?
A. “Seeing it for the first time it’s almost as if a show car had landed on the streets.”

Q. Discuss the impact the #Infiniti FX has had on today’s #Infiniti SUVs and the wider industry?
A. “I’ve heard from #people in the industry that the FX was immediately benchmarked because, back almost 20 years ago when it was being drawn, there was nothing like it. There were a number of relatively orthodox SUV’s available in the relatively new genre but the FX took it to another level because it was almost divorced from restriction even though it had as many as anything else, it was this kind of miracle project, where from the first sketch to the final one, both appeared to be from a dream.”

Q. Why do you think #people around the world are still passionate about the FX today?
A. “As designers, we always have this dream to create something that is timeless, every designer wants to do something that never gets old, but I think that the FX is really one of the rare ones where the iconography and the simplicity blended with these proportions this kind of attitude, was something that to this day, seems unreal and seems fresh.”

Q. What was the thinking at the time the FX was designed?
A. “INFINITI was in a revolutionary moment, because the G Coupe was also being dreamed at a similar timing and this very simple, minimal #design language of the body, the package which they share, with the hood being longer and the cabins being slid back and very sleek.
This vibe was in the studio at that time and although I do feel that both vehicles have a uniqueness on their own, they were both quintessentially #Infiniti.
Even today when I see an FX, it’s like seeing an ideal moment that was captured by the team.

Q. In your words, how would you describe the #Infiniti FX?
A. “For me, the FX is an icon of the brand. If you examine #Infiniti #design language prior to and post the introduction of the FX, you can see that the styling direction is quite different. The FX really helped set the daring and convention-pushing direction we’ve taken #Infiniti since.

Q. Do you remember your first impression when you saw the FX for the first time?
A. “I was closely watching the FX project development. What struck me was the very strong stance as a front engine-rear wheel drive car, the very long bonnet and the #design was honestly expressing the packaging, with high ground clearance, having big tires and paired with an almost capsule-like cabin on top of it, that was a very unique combination.”

Q. How do you see the FX’s influence on the industry?
A. “The category actually didn’t exist before the FX era. The combination of a sports coupe and an SUV made the modern CUV category with other OEM’s (manufacturers) later trying to follow that direction. FX is a pioneer of the category. Since we introduced the FX, other brands have tried to replicate its success, but I know many #people recognize that #Infiniti was the first mover in the space.

Q. What models or artists inspired the FX?
A. “Hideo Komuro, the original FX exterior designer, was inspired by Japanese Architect Shiro Kuramata. His work is very simple and minimalistic. Similarly, there is something very honest about the functionality and that philosophy that is injected into the whole exterior #design of FX.

Q. Despite launching almost 20 years ago, why do you think #people around the world are still passionate about the FX today?
A. “I think the attractiveness of the FX is about emotion and something striking, something very personal and it’s the owner’s way to express the life of himself or herself, trying to express". 

You might be interested in