Art of Drive: SPEEDBIRDS

Words: Antony Villain.

The story started in 2006, we were designers at Renault Design. Some of us joined our satellite studios worldwide. François went to the Barcelona studio (Spain), Yann went to the Nissan studio in Tokyo (Japan) Stephane to the RSM studio in Seoul (Korea), I was the only one to stay in France! We decided to launch a little “sketch battle”, the idea was to stay in touch through this project, it was also the opportunity to refresh ourselves with a non-automotive project.


I remember we were all impressed by the Schneider Cup hydroplanes, great proportions, amazing races, very creative concepts, so we said “let's imagine what could be the Schneider Cup in the near future." During two years, we produced several sketches sending them to each other for a friendly sketch battle.

In 2008, Laurent Negroni joined Renault Design, in his portfolio were a lot of aeroplane sketches, old plane illustrations, we were all keen on his sketches. Of course amongst all his work were many Schneider Cup hydroplanes. When sharing our work, the idea came immediately, why not gather all these sketches in a book?

Laurent Stephane and I were sharing a common contact: Romain Hugault. Romain is a famous cartoonist specialized in aircraft history cartoons, great stories, and great skills. Romain is also in charge of the ‘Cockpit Collection’ among the Paquet edition. This collection is specialized in plane cartoons and artwork.

In 2009 The first Speedbirds was launched in a horizontal format, split into two parts, the historical parts by Laurent with Romain as special guest and the concept part by François, Yann, Stephane and I. You just had to turn the book upside down to choose the part. It was a success, 4500 were sold in one year. It was interesting to reach two worlds, the aircraft fans world and the designer’s world.

In 2011, Romain contacted us to re-edit the book. The idea was to make a new version in a vertical format in order to join the Cockpit art book collection. The first idea was to keep the same structure for the book but unfortunately we had to reduce the number of pages, so we decided to split Speedbirds into two volumes. This was the only way to keep all the sketches and was also an opportunity to put in some extra work. Now Speedbirds 1.1 is the historical part and Speedbirds 1.2 is the concept part.

Most of the drawing has been done in 2006, 2007 and 2008, only extras are from 2011 2012.

Laurent Negroni (1980) designer

Yann Jarsallé (1978) senior designer: exterior design Dezir concept car (2010) Alpine A110-50 (2012) New Clio (2012)

François Leboine (1974) lead designer: exterior design Megane hatchback and coupe (2008) Megane coupe concept (2008) Twizzy concept and production (2011)

Antony Villain (1974) designer, director exterior design studio 1: Bebop concepts (2003) Zoe concept car (2005) design director new Clio (2012)

Stephane Janin (1973) designer, director exterior design studio 2: interior design Koleos concept car (1999), interior/exterior design Talisman conceptcar (2001) Interior design Wind concept (2004) interior design Zoe concept (2005) interior/exterior Altica concept car (2006) design director concept cars Megane Coupe concept, Laguna Coupe concept, Zoe ZE concept.

Fuel Tank