Almost hidden on one side of the Grand Union Canal in London's Little Venice, Nissan's design studio buzzes with ideas that may change the shape of what we drive.
Built in the 1960s, the studio is basking in record European sales of its most recent production car; the Juke. It has won the assignment to develop the next Qashqai. It has done some wicked concept cars, including the Terranaut "science lab on wheels" - said to be the most expensive show car ever made - and the Qazana, which provided many cues for Nissan's current design direction. And although the Japanese studio claimed credit, London was responsible for much of the design of Nissan's "affordable" supercar, the GT-R.
A lounge called the Chill Out Room - a place where designers can relax over a game of pool - looks down on the modelling floor where their designs are milled in clay. On this floor, their ideas become life-sized. The best are airfreighted to Japan and, possibly, on to the road to production.
Senior designer Paul Ray says part of the studio's job is to change mindsets within the company, to prove that the London design direction is the way to go. This task can be a mission in a company that's often conservative at heart.
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But models such as the Juke and Qashqai show the London studio does manage to get its way at least some of the time.
Nissan has for years been committed to design studios in different parts of the world, which compete with each other for jobs. Its first design department was formed with eight people in 1954. There are two studios near Tokyo, one of them a small "skunkworks" operation, and one each in San Diego and Beijing. Another may be established in Russia, where Nissan has a huge market presence.
Director Paul Garside says no other major car company has a design centre in London. For Nissan, the city still swings. The studio's diverse workforce varies between ages 45 and 60, and comprises 13 nationalities.
But the designers don't always get it right. Ray recalls an ill-fated design for a USB stick to go with the Juke. After the stick went into production, someone realised it looked just like ... a small penis.