When we partnered with the Michelin Guide to celebrate the launch of the new Infiniti Q60 sports coupe, our goal was simple: to deliver a genuine fusion of innovation that reflects our shared values. We talked to Matt Weaver, Infiniti Emea Design Director, and Mark Jarvis, Chef Director of London's Anglo restaurant, to find out more.
All ideas start with a blank sheet of paper
Matt Weaver and Mark Jarvis believe an idea is not an idea without it exciting people, without it evoking new feelings, without it pushing the boundaries of the norm. But where do you start when creating a dish that no one's ever seen before - or concepting a car that is like no other?
Weaver believes in finding and implementing the new and unexpected. Thanks to his Infiniti design studio being in the heart of London, influences from the worlds of fashion to architecture are on his doorstep - and evident in the cars Weaver's team create. Jarvis is on the same track.
He's constantly taking in the world around him, using every detail as potential inspiration for something new. It's an innate curiosity that led to him bringing techniques he saw on a trip to Asia back to his own restaurant in Farringdon. Intrigued by street vendours adding smoke to food by cooking in pans over barbecues, he experimented with it as soon as he got home - resulting in a pork, whey and miso dish that perfectly combines three flavours.
Its not what you do, its the way that you do it
In this case, the way that Jarvis and Weaver create, craft, and hone their creations is constantly changing. But should technology drive their thinking? Jarvis thinks not. Since he launched Anglo in early 2016, there has been an influx of new processes, methods and techniques in the restaurant industry - but Jarvis believes that everything should have a purpose. So although kitchen technology, such as the water bath, is used to create a duck tartare, it's there to enhance the ingredients, rather than be a gimmick that steals the limelight.
Growing up, Jarvis' father was an engineer, building tools for a big company. Jarvis would watch in amazement at his father's thought patterns, gripped by how he'd use basic tools to fix things with such precision and attention to detail. It was here Jarvis learnt a respect for craft, and there's obvious influence on his cooking today.
A passion for perfection is also mirrored in the way that Weaver and his team work. Every stitch, every curve, every reflection is meticulously created, assessed and tuned. Technology excites him. It makes processes quicker and more efficient; it opens up new ways to make the customer feel something different.
The seats in the latest Infiniti models are based on Zero Gravity Seat technology, which he believes connect you to the road like no other. But the drive itself - much like the flavours of a well presented dish - is where the true essence of the car comes through. In the Q60, performance is channeled to the driver through a world first digitally adaptive handling system - Direct Adaptive Steering. Its purpose, says Weaver, is to enhance the driver experience, rather than to take over.
Ultimately, then, Weaver shares Jarvis' thinking - technology shouldn't drive what you do, it should serve to make it better.
A good first impression leaves a lasting impression
Throughout life, there are so many times when it's important to make a first impression. The challenge that restaurants and car manufacturers share is that the first impression can't just be good - it has to be completely unforgettable. When it comes to giving his dishes the wow factor, Jarvis keeps things natural. That doesn't mean that they're not refined - far from it. It means each plate of food is completely unique.
He believes constraining people's creativity is one of the greatest sins, which is why he gives his team freedom to express themselves and to put their own stamp on each dish. It's led to creations like his aforementioned duck tartare, an experience that's as much about the stunning presentation as it is about the exquisite flavours on show.
Weaver sees remarkable similarities. Despite his thoughts on the advancement of technology, the human aspect is integral to Weaver's design ethos. 'The hand of the craftsman' is something he wants people to feel in every car he designs.
His team worked together to take their different interpretations of the Q60's jaw dropping performance and translated those into the final striking design. The focus was on detail - in the form of aggressive creases and deep curves - that would stir genuine emotion. And the result is a car that moves you like no other.
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