Sabine Marcelis Reinvents Renault’s Cult Classic Twingo

Sabine Marcelis designed the new Twingo concept car with the original's quirky character. Photos courtesy of Renault


July 18, 2023

Twingo, the beloved compact city car manufactured by Renault, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a birthday makeover. The manufacturer recruited artist and designer Sabine Marcelis to re-envision the hatchback with her signature ethereal style.

Sabine is known for working with translucent materials like resin, glass, and neon. The Dutch artist plays with light and space through a friendly, pastel color palette; the reflections and shadows that pass through her objects are just as significant as their minimalist forms. She has designed enchanting products for brands like Ikea, Dior, and Stella McCartney, and now Sabine brings that signature glow to Renault for an electric Twingo concept car.

Sabine Marcelis’ Twingo concept car

Released in 1993, the Twingo has become a cult classic among car enthusiasts. The compact hatchback is known for its single-volume silhouette, charming “frog eye” headlights, and a surprisingly roomy, modular interior. Though the Twingo is now in its third generation, Sabine returned to the original quirky character in her all white, partially see-through edition with a bright red interior. She pushed a monochrome color scheme, stripped down details, and condensed many complex pieces into singular molds, including the car body and windows.

sabine marcelis twingo

The rich, red interior of Sabine Marcelis’ Twingo concept car

“The collaboration with Renault began with an invitation to rethink Twingo as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. It was a fantastic opportunity and a new field of exploration for me, as I’d never designed a car before. Working on such an iconic and popular car was a real challenge, especially given the scale of the project. It was an opportunity to create something truly innovative and memorable,” Sabine said.

In June, Renault held the world premiere of Sabine’s Twingo at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Her car looks like a friendly ghost. Its luminous outer shell reveals the moldings that form the car’s interior elements. Parts of the headlights beam into a semi-transparent bumper, creating a blushing smile. The tires, plush and white like their historical counterparts, appear more like candies than wheels.

Inside, the car is a lush burgundy. Sabine’s exploration of mono-materiality has merged some elements into one piece, like seats and the wide sun visor that diffuses sunshine for both passengers at once. The steering wheel is a solid peach disc made from resin, appearing as if one of Sabine’s Lazy Susans, co-designed with husband Paul Cournet, has been fused to the steering column.

The special Twingo has an electric engine, a nod to their promise to go all electric by the year 2030.

Lately, Renault has been marking their vehicles’ anniversaries with artistic collaborations. Previously, Mathieu Lehanneur honored the 60 years anniversary of the Renault 4 by constructing a nomadic hotel with Suite N°4, and Pierre Gonalons commemorated 50 years of the Renault 5 with the R5 Diamant, which was also electric.

Photos courtesy of Renault