When we sat down with Infiniti Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa for a chat on the lawn at Pebble Beach before the Concours d’Elegance he talked extensively about the new direction for the brand, shared a bit of his personal history and his passion for all things automotive.
Mr. Albaisa was appointed Executive Design Director this spring and given the task of remaking Infiniti’s entire lineup in the next few years. A 25-year veteran of Nissan/Infiniti, it didn’t take him long to instill his philosophy into the team. “The premium market is going nuts right now,” he said “and exclusivity is everywhere. But it’s not enough to be exclusive, we must bring rarity to our designs, to instill them with passion and heart. We need to reinvent the craft of coach building.”
He then pulled out a pen and drew a quick sketch for me while saying “It’s all about simplicity layered with romance and seduction. When I saw one of my designers draw these lines with their unusual tangents, I knew we had something special.” You can clearly see the influence of that sketch in the new Q30 that will be first shown at Frankfort.
Albaisa is of Cuban descent and grew up in Miami where he was fascinated by architecture as a young boy. Then he saw an E-type Jaguar and soon after drew his first car when he was 10 and he was hooked.
“I realized that cars elicit emotions. That the car can shock. A car can be anything. So I made it my life’s work.”
When he’s not leading the design team for Infiniti, Albaisa is a solo sailor. He says it helps him stay grounded. “Alone at night, when I’m in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight, you realize the humbleness of man. It’s where I really get into my unconscious thought.”