Peugeot Design shows an ingenious foodtruck: Le Bistrot du Lion

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Le Bistrot du Lion transcends the traditional food truck by using a compact van and trailer with massive load capacity which both unfold to double their length and create an entire mobile restaurant catering for 30 patrons. This idea has legs.

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Good design is a functional expression of purpose and after 200 years of creating household technology and a century of making transportation technology, Peugeot Design has married the two with an ingenious mobile restaurant "Foodtruck" concept.

Not surprisingly, we love ingenious design at Gizmag and as we reflected eight years ago when we eulogized an equally ground-breaking Nissan NV200 concept, "one of the challenges in writing stories for an emerging technology magazine is to avoid continuously using the word ingenious."

Just as Nissan's NV200 concept (pictured above) was exactly that, transforming an existing structure into a secondary and equally useful one at will, so too is Peugeot's new Foodtruck truly ingenious. Check out Nissan's design and you'll see why they are similar in many ways, due to both taking advantage of clever construction, yet entirely different.

The use of the term foodtruck in the press materials seems at odds with the many clever design nuances of Peugeot's concept. Indeed, the many aspects of the vehicle named "Le Bistrot du Lion" cannot be portrayed adequately in one image.

Having been designed in Paris, clearly one of the Foodtruck's primary design parameters was easy maneuverability in an impossibly tight urban environment. Apart from the use of a trailer to increase load space, the Peugeot van is also compact with short front and rear overhangs, the final combination boasting massive load volume and the ability to have the sides unfold to create an entire portable restaurant in short order. That's the unfolded van above, and the unfolded trailer below.

The product of the fertile minds at Peugeot's Design Lab, Le Bistrot du Lion was unveiled last week at popular Paris venue Le Carreau du Temple, and the designers seem to have considered all aspects from the driver to the chef to the serving staff to the entertainment, and most of all, the experience of the patrons.

Once on site, the Foodtruck and compact trailer both quite literally spread their wings to double the entire length of both vehicles, creating a functional space with the versatility to adapt to a variety of uses.

Le Bistrot du Lion includes areas for food preparation, dining and refreshments, as well as a DJ booth capitalizing on the new digital music platform recently launched by Peugeot, designed to offer web radio and specific and exclusive playlists to help create the desired atmosphere for each audience/clientele.

The thoroughness shown in every aspect of Le Bistrot du Lion is very impressive, right down to the sustainability aspects and the recycling of all waste. Vehicles designed to deliver food on the go have been around since the automobile was invented, but the Peugeot Foodtruck is one of the best attempts we've seen at creating a functional food dispensary on wheels.

It's not surprising really, because Peugeot's story began over two hundred years ago with family grain mill, and the company has worked in many areas of industry since then, and the recently instituted Design Laboratory has been creating some awesome concepts in all areas since it opened its doors to outside clients just a few short years ago.

As early as 1810, the grain mill was converted to begin manufacturing saw blades, coffee mills were being manufactured by 1840 and pepper mills then followed, with the first Peugeot vehicle appearing in 1882: the Grand-Bi Penny-farthing bicycle. Peugeot automobiles followed and since then, more than 65 million Peugeot motor vehicles have been sold. It remains the only brand in the world that continues to manufacture tableware while also designing and producing vehicles.

"Since it was founded, Peugeot has designed and manufactured thousands of domestic objects and vehicles," says Gilles Vidal, Peugeot's Design Director. "They are proof of our multifaceted industry expertise and our ability to reconcile new forms with function. The Peugeot Food Truck is an obvious heir to these traditions: a mobile object, an automobile, which, once parked, becomes a food truck unlike any other. Our goal is to appeal to all the senses-sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch-through the unique combination of modernity and harmony only Peugeot can offer."

"The end-users are always at the heart of all of our designs," explains Cathal Loughnane, Head of Peugeot Design Lab. "For the Peugeot Foodtruck, we wanted to create a complete food truck experience, not only creating a kitchen for the chef but a restaurant and cafe for the customers. A lot of attention was given to opening up the kitchen and allowing the chef and food preparation to be as close to the public as possible. We also wanted to create a real sense of surprise as the compact Peugeot Foodtruck transforms into an amphitheatre-like dining space."

Some of the innovative ideas incorporated into the moving bistro are worth considering for other venues. Patrons can watch the chef's every move on the 46-inch screen and French speaker-maker Focal has installed microphones in the kitchen so the speakers retransmit even the faintest sizzle of the food on the stovetop. Obviously, that's when the mix table isn't being used, but once again, the atmosphere can be tailored for the surroundings and the audience.

The Peugeot Foodtruck was designed in collaboration with Euromag, the French food truck specialist. The professional-grade preparation and cooking appliances are all designed to be multi-functional, and the kitchen comprises two grilling plates, four induction burners and a deep fryer. There's also a 400-litre refrigerated under-foot compartment, a 350-litre refrigerator and a professional Rocket Espresso machine.

As a final touch for the debut of Le Bistrot du Lion, Peugeot selected talented French chef Sven Chartier of Saturne and Le Clown Bar in Paris as the first culinary tenant.

Le Bistrot du Lion will go on display at Milan Design Week 2015 on April 14, before heading to the French Pavilion at the 2015 World's Fair, Expo Milano. There you'll have a full six months to view the very clever new take on a mobile food dispensary.

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