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The new Nissan Qashqai is being swamped with praise, but it would take quite a leap to describe it as a “work of art”. However, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead plans on hosting a unique event celebrating the striking design of the next generation crossover.
On top of that, in a spectacular display of public art/guerilla marketing convergence, the world famous Gateshead Millennium Bridge is to be bathed in Nissan's signature red throughout the event.
What is going on? Is this a celebration of design or an acknowledgement that design can be art, too? If so, is it the concept of design itself that's being venerated, or the specific design of the Nissan Qashqai? Is the Nissan Qashqai art? What is art?The Nissan Qashqai at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
The event has quite a nightmarish name that calls to mind sinister rallies of forced enthusiasm. It's being referred to as a Nissan Innovation and Excitement Event, it kicks off at Gateshead's BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art on Saturday January 18, and it lasts for four days.
Expect to see various vehicles, concept designs and films, all celebrating the powerful curves, clean lines and intricate details of the all new Nissan Qashqai. Show up on Saturday and you can even natter with Nissan's recruitment team about existing job vacancies. Staff from the Benfield Nissan dealership will be on-hand across the four days, effectively transforming one of Europe's leading galleries into Gateshead's first city centre car showroom.
And don't worry if you can't find the BALTIC Centre. The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, illuminated in Nissan's signature red, is designed to act as a beacon, signposting people from miles around towards the Innovation and Excitement Event. Who are you to resist it, huh?
Says Nissan's UK Manufacturing Vice President Kevin Fitzpatrick: “Nissan has created the next generation Crossover by redesigning Qashqai from the ground-up. We think it’s fitting to celebrate that design in one of Europe’s leading modern art galleries.
“The event will showcase the role of our design and technical centres in developing this innovative new model, as we move into full production at our Sunderland plant.
“At the same time we would like to invite anyone interested in working for Nissan to meet with members of our team, and give customers the chance to buy their next Nissan.”
Art as commerce! Art as a recruitment drive! There's some really out-there thinking going on here.
But seriously, it is fitting indeed that the new Nissan Qashqai should be celebrated in Gateshead, as the groundbreaking crossover is manufactured at the nearby Nissan Sunderland Plant. Indeed, the Nissan Qashqai is the highest volume car made in Britain, and having made over one million vehicles in two years, Nissan have become the biggest UK carmaker of all time.
So just ignore me. I'm precious when it comes to the role of art and the function of the gallery. But as a celebration of UK design, employment and manufacturing, this is a most worthy event.