THE Ariya not only reimagines what an electric car could be but how people should feel when driving it.

Everything from the zero-gravity seats to the horizontal, dual information displays were designed for comfort and comfort design.

But when it came to provoking a sense of inner tranquillity, it was colour designer Kyehyun Ahn’s job to find the perfect combination of colour and materials.

The designer came to Japan from Korea four years ago but had been studying the Zen influence on design long before she arrived.

“While studying design in college, I moved away from shape and toward colour to see how it influences mood in an intuitive, almost hidden way,” Ahn said.

The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPr
The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPress.

“The Ariya was my first chance to explore taking a Zen approach to not only colour, but how it co-ordinated with interior materials.”

This path was a natural progression as Ahn embraced Nissan’s newly established Japanese design language.

She was enthusiastic to incorporate concepts such as Ma, Iki, Kabuku or Omotenashi into her own Ariya work.

The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPr
The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPress.
The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPr
The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPress.

This journey led Ahn to try some unique colour combinations that initially raised a few eyebrows within her team.

“I tend to pick the main colour from a source image, like an initial render and then add the unexpected with a complementary colour to build an interesting story.”

The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPr
The art of Zen in the Nissan Ariya. Photo: MotorPress.

That’s how she paired the blue-gray leather of the Ariya with copper accents colours considered polar opposites. She saw the copper as a “kick” to heighten the visual impact.

“Some colleagues weren’t comfortable with the combination right away, but I was confident that it would bring something very unique and beautiful to the interior, so I pushed for it.”

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The thought of a “busy” interior countered the Zen philosophy Ahn and the team were after for the Ariya.

“By eliminating clutter, a Zen-like interior can provide a kind of ‘perfect comfort’ for the physical and inner self,” Ahn said.

The haptic buttons hidden behind the wood grain of the dashboard are also a great example of this, cleanly integrating these direct touchpoints into the minimalistic feel of the cabin.