This is quite late but Happy New Year from me as well, I hope to see more of you here this year.
We’re currently in Paris to attend the 30th Festival Automobile International.
Paris has been called the city of flowers and city of light, but unfortunately this is the darkest and coldest time of the year. When we arrived, it was slightly snowing. If this was the end of the year there would be Christmas illuminations and lots of people shopping; but still, the day we arrived seemed to be right after the Paris Fashion Week, and in streets and café’s near central Paris, there were lots of people who are probably buyers and various fashion brand related people.
The Festival Automobile International is on its 30th year. The event actually started as a part of the 24 hour ice trial race held at the famous Chamonix ski resort, located in the mountain range containing the highest peak in west Europe, Mont Blanc. We’ve been at many motor shows around the world, but this was the first time we participated and even heard out about the event.
The festival was hosted at the L’hôtel des Invalides in the center of Paris for 6 days. The historic building was first built as a hospital for war veterans in the 17th century. A domed chapel was later added, and the French Emperor Napoleon I and his family, as well as other generals of historical importance are buried here. A part of the building is also open to the public as a French Military Museum.
The lighted chapel stands behind the large tent structure that was built at the grounds as the event show floor. I’ve been at many show venues but I’ve never seen any other like it. I especially liked the Gala dinner table layout. The cars on display sat between the tables, as if they were one of the guests. Guests in black ties chat with others with a Champaign glass in one hand and their other hand on the pillars and fenders of concept cars; it’s a pretty fantastic scene, quite out of the ordinary.
The show floor of this Festival is not that large, in fact its fairly cozy, and is quite different in appearance from the world’s motor shows. And the organizers themselves interact with people from the automotive industry at the dinner tables, while giving out prizes in the ceremony.
Seeing the list of awards given in the ceremony, there are prizes not just for exterior and interior beauty, but many prizes that honor “Beauty” and “Creation” in regards to cars in books, photographs, commercials, architecture and art. While it appears to be a very local event, its concept and scope is very French, where these things exist naturally in their every day lives like in the city of Paris.
At half past 8 from the start of the Gala dinner, the host on stage introduced the Alpine CEO, Mr. Bernard Olivier. As Yamauchi san and Alpine design director Mr. Antony stood next to the veiled Alpine VGT, everyone’s eyes were focused on the stage.
And the Alpine VGT was finally unveiled by their hands. They looked at each other in satisfaction, standing by the fully revealed Alpine VGT.
Commemorative photo after the unveiling
Fine details are meticulously recreated in the full scale model. Seeing the car in this size in person really puts things in perspective.
The Alpine VGT was unveiled as the top highlight of the ceremony at the 30 year old festival, but halfway through the dinner, Yamauchi san was called to the stage once again. As a special prize in this commemorative 30th event, Yamauchi san was awarded the “Creativity Grand Prize” for his contribution to the automotive industry through the Gran Turismo series.
And commemorating the 30th birthday of the festival, a giant birthday cake made of Macarons was brought out.
There was also another Japanese person who was awarded on the same stage. Mr. Shiro Nakamura who leads Nissan/Infiniti’s design. He received the Grand Prize for Design for 2015.
And the Palme d’Or that is given at the end of the ceremony was awarded to the FIA Chairman Jean Todt for his long years of contribution to the world of motorsports.
Just last June, Mr. Jean Todt and Yamauchi san had announced a collaboration with Gran Turismo at the Motorex event hosted by the FIA. Mr. Todt and Yamauchi san just happened to receive prizes on the same stage in this festival, and I can’t help but to feel a sort of special fate in play here.
And on the show floor was also displayed the Aston Martin DP100 Vision Gran Turismo!
From last year, we’ve had the opportunity to see the VGT cars at motor shows and festivals all over the world. Seeing the cars born from the Vision Gran Turismo project traveling to shows around the world is really satisfying.
There were also many other unique and nostalgic cars on display.
On the day after the ceremony, there was an Alpine A110 parked outside the show floor. You can see the features that were passed on to the Alpine VGT.
And finally, I want to finish the report with the list of prize winners at the Festival Automobile International 2015 and links where you can see them all. Thanks for reading, and see you again.
30th Edition of the International Automobile Festival
LE GRAND PRIX DU PLUS BEAU CONCEPT CAR DE L’ANNEE
LE GRAND PRIX DE LA PLUS BELLE SUPERCAR DE L’ANNEE
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
LE GRAND PRIX CREATIV’EXPERIENCE
Volvo’s Driver Assist System on XC-90
Young designer Awards by BMW : Design extérieur « Invisible technology »
Ali Kerkeni from Pforzheim University
Young designer Awards by BMW : Design intérieur « Freude am reisen »
LE GRAND PRIX DU PLUS BEL INTERIEUR DE L’ANNEE
LE GRAND PRIX DU PLUS BEAU FILM PUBLICITAIRE DE L’ANNEE
Peugeot New 208
Just as an extra, here is one of the nominees. The crowd burst out in laughter after this commercial (myself as well)
LE GRAND PRIX DU PLUS BEAU LIVRE DE L’ANNEE
Saouttchik Peter Larsen Dalton Watson fine Book
LE GRAND PRIX DE LA PLUS BELLE PHOTO DE L’ANNEE
Love is from Peter Fox
LE GRAND PRIX DE L’ENVIRONNEMENT
LE GRAND PRIX DE L’ARCHITECTURE
Bridge Jacques Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux by Thomas-Lavigne architects
LE GRAND PRIX DE L’ART
Fantastic Machinery, Collection Renault
LE GRAND PRIX DU DESIGN
LE GRAND PRIX SPECIAL DU JURY
LE LAURÉAT POUR LA PALME D’OR
Jean Todt, President of FIA
LE PRIX DE LA CRÉATIVITÉ
Kazunori Yamauchi – Gran Turismo video game franchise