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Alfonso Eduardo Albaisa

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Alfonso Eduardo Albaisa
BornMiami, October, 1964
🏫 EducationUniversity of Florida

Pratt Institute

College for Creative Studies
💼 Occupation
Senior Vice President for Global Design for Nissan Motor Company
🥚 TwitterTwitter=
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Alfonso Eduardo Albaisa (born October 1964) is a Cuban-American automobile designer and executive. After a 14 year tenure at Isuzu, in 1988 he joined Nissan North America. Subsequent promotions led him to the vice presidency of Nissan Design Europe, Executive Design Director of Infiniti, and to his current position as Senior Vice President for Global Design for Nissan Motor Company.[1]

Background[edit]

Alfonso Albaisa was born in Miami, Florida to Cuban exile parents. His father, Adolfo Albaisa, and great-uncle, Max Borges Recio were both architects.[2] The elder Albaisa designed Richard Nixon’s residence in Key Biscayne, Florida, and Belen Jesuit Preparatory School’s current campus in Miami.[3] Among Borges Recio’s best-known work is Havana’s Tropicana nightclub and Club Náutico.[7] Albaisa’s great-aunt Carmen Zayas-Bazán was married to the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” José Martí.[4]

Albaisa’s initial design inclinations turned to fine art and crafting mini paper replicas of yachts driving by his childhood home in Miami.[5] It was the sinuous styling of the Jaguar E-Type, however, that awakened his passion for automotive design.[6]

He is married, with 3 daughters: Isabella, Louisa and Sophia, and currently lives in Japan. Sailing is his main hobby.[7]

Education[edit]

Albaisa decided against following the family tradition of training as an architect. Instead, he studied sculpture and figure drawing and then industrial design at the University of Florida. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in industrial design from the Pratt Institute in New York and subsequently attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan.[10][11]

Career[edit]

Albaisa was hired in 1988 by Jerry Hirshberg to join the budding Nissan Design International in La Jolla, California.[8] After rising to the position of Design Director at the renamed Nissan Design America, Albaisa began the first of his overseas stints, first as product chief designer in Atsugi, Japan in 2005, then as Vice President of Nissan Design Europe in London in 2007.

In 2010, he returned to the U.S. as Vice President of Nissan Design America, replacing the retiring Bruce Campbell.[9] Two years later, he returned to Japan, where he has held a number of positions (including Executive Design Director of Infiniti[3]) and is currently Senior Vice President for Global Design for Nissan Motor Company.

Historic visit to Cuba[edit]

In 2016, Fortune magazine proposed that Albaisa return to his ancestral homeland of Cuba, bringing along an Infiniti Q60 coupe. This was, in fact, the first new car exported directly from the United States to Cuba in 58 years.[10]

The trip finally came together in August of that year, with Albaisa reconnecting with a long-lost cousin and visiting architectural landmarks designed by his father and great-uncle.[11][12]

Design Awards[edit]

Under Albaisa’s watch, Nissan and Infiniti concepts have won a number of EyesOn Design awards,[13], among them the Nissan Vmotion 2.0 (a preview of the 6th-generation Nissan Altima), the Infiniti Q Inspiration sedan, the Nissan Xmotion, or the Infiniti QX3 Inspiration.

Albaisa has made several appearances on Motor Trend magazine’s annual Power List of the most influential and significant figures of the automotive industry, ranking as high as number 4 on the 2021 list.[14]

Newsweek magazine named Alfonso Albaisa its Designer of the Year 2022 in the inaugural World’s Greatest Auto Disruptors awards.[15]

References[edit]

  1. "ALFONSO ALBAISA SUCCEEDS SHIRO NAKAMURA, INFINITI DESIGN GOES TO KARIM HABIB". Auto&Design. 14 March 2017.
  2. "Havana Homecoming". www.tokyoamericanclub.org.
  3. Naughton, Keith. "A Rebel With A Car". Newsweek.
  4. Ordaz, José Virgilio. "Nissan Z Proto: Alfonso Albaisa talks about the design of the next Z". Queautocompro.
  5. Bryan, Campbell. "COVID-19 Is Shaping The Future Of Car Design: Q&A With SVP Of Nissan Global Design". Forbes.
  6. Klein, Jonathon (16 September 2019). "The Drive Interview: Nissan/Infiniti's Senior Vice President for Global Design Alfonso Albaisa". The Drive.
  7. "Nissan's Albaisa finds peace at sea". Automotive News. 29 March 2008.
  8. Naughton, Keith (26 October 2003). "A Rebel With A Car". Newsweek.
  9. Chapell, Lindsay (11 March 2010). "Nissan's top U.S. designer, Bruce Campbell, to retire at month's end". Automotive News.
  10. Callaway, Sue. "The Amazing Tale of How Cuba Saw Its First New U.S. Car in 58 Years". Fortune.
  11. "Cuba Gets Its First American Car in 58 Years". fortune.com.
  12. "Infiniti designer explores Cuban roots". Automotive News. 30 September 2016.
  13. Eyes On Design https://www.eyesondesign.org/detroit-auto-show#PastWinners. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. "2021 MotorTrend Person of the Year: Who Shone During a Difficult Year?". MotorTrend. 14 December 2020.
  15. Falkenberg-Hull, Eileen; McC, James; Perry, Tatiania (12 April 2022). "World's Greatest Auto Disruptors: Six Innovators Shaking Up the Industry". Newsweek.

References[edit]


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