Chinese Design has been looked upon as “copy-cats” with a design audience acting rather as followers than leaders. However, with regards to fashion brands like e.g. “SHANGHAI TANG” we believe this is changing. Will young, modern Chinese fashion even spearhead China to actually becoming an influential trend setting marketplace?
Shanghai Tang is an international clothing chain company, founded in 1994 by Hong Kong businessman David Tang Wing Cheung (now controlled by Richemont). David Tang claims that Shanghai Tang is a Chinese label that set out to rejuvenate Chinese fashion. The fundamental design concept is inspired by traditional Han Chinese clothing combined with the modernity and dynamism of the 21st century. The brand is noted for its use of very bright colors.
We took some images when working with the interior design of the Volvo Ocean Race Edition. I think it is pretty clear what elements from the nautical cards and carbon sails of the Volvo Ocean Race ships that inspired me. See more in this post: Designing with Volvo Ocean Race in mind.
Jonas Strömberg, interaction designer of the Volvo XC60 plug-in petrol hybrid Concept
What do you work with?
In essence, I’m working on creating a positive user experience for the driver by sorting and designing the information flow in the car. Our main focus is on digital and graphic design. In summary, my colleagues and I design technology that is designed for and around people.
How did your interest for interaction design start?
My main background is in Humanities as behavioral science, psychology and philosophy. After that I studied engineering at Chalmers University of Technology which proved to be a very good and exciting mix that laid the foundation of the profession I have today.
How has the Detroit Auto Show been so far?
It has gone very well! It’s always nervous before with a lot of preparation but here at the show, people have been very interested in the car and of our work.
Meet Lennart, the go-to-guy when it comes to licensing a Volvo car. If somewhere in the world, a Volvo is to be produced as a replica model, a toy or included in a computer game like Gran Turismo 5, Lennart makes sure the producer gets everything right and send e.g. CAD-drawings, physical measures or photographs around the world. For example, a factory in China might never have seen a Volvo so it’s of utmost importance that they get full support from Lennart. One of the tv-games that Volvo is a part of has sold 25 million copies, that’s a lot of Volvos and you certainly wouldn’t want there to be any kind of errors on them!
Everyday he’s on the phone, in meetings or emailing with producers all over the world to guide them and ensure that Volvo looks the way it’s supposed to, it’s all about brand awareness. -“If someone in the world wants to produce a Volvo, I will support them. It takes on average three times to get it right for a producer. I mean I will get their prototype three times before I can approve it.”
Lennart has worked at Volvo since 1974 when he got a job putting bumpers on the Volvo 240. He worked his way to the model workshop, a section still close to Lennarts’ heart. When talking about model cars, Lennart is quite the expert. The model is supposed to mirror the feeling of the actual car on the street. This means, you cannot make an exact copy, you have to adjust colors, sizes and angles to give the impression of what it looks like in real size.
“-A fun project was the XC90 models of the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. The cars transported the javelin and discus back to the throwers.” länk:
Besides cars, Lennart is an extremely devoted fan of radio control model airplanes. He owns 18 planes, ranging from 32grams to 8kg, the biggest one have a petrol engine of 62cc! Lennarts favorite Volvo is the 780, and the 850 is a dream car. Though he does confess, when passing an Aston Martin DB9 Volante on the street, he can’t help but turn around.
When it comes to designing cars, inspiration comes from everywhere. I have a soft spot for exclusive watches such as Patek Philippe and I’m a dedicated collector of wrist watches. It’s in this collection that I’ve found the inspiration for one of Volvos more extreme interior designs; Milled Amber – inscription decor of the S80. The technique used to create the almost 3D-like pattern called Geneva Waves is the same as you can find in quality watches, where you mill thin lines in a wave pattern into steel. You may also recognize it from the classic arcade game Donkey Kong, now that’s quality!
November is the official mustasch-month, also known as Movember. Movember has become a major international event were people around the world raise funds and awareness about mens’ health. On the first of november, all participants at Volvo got a clean shave and started to grow their mustasches from scratch. 25 designers, engineers and chiefs at Volvo Design participated and grew their moustaches to show their support for this great cause. The Grande Finale was held at the annual christmas party where the winner of the moustache competition was Marcus Nilsson with his outstanding stache known as Delta – clean, simple and well groomed. Hope to see you all again next year!
/Niklas Palm & Juan-Pablo Bernal
Name: Lars Falk
Profession: Vice President, Product Design China
Location: Shanghai. Volvo R&D centre is located in Jiading and we live in HongQiaoI spend my free time with my family and when I find time on windsurfing
Why did you become a designer?
I was hung up on drawing objects when I was younger. Gadgets, vehicles, cars and motorbikes. I understood early on that I wanted to be the one who designs them.
How did you become a designer?
After high school I got an internship at a Swedish product design firm where I learnt the importance of the customer, ergonomics, user friendliness and what we in Sweden call “humanistic/social design” which is based on people´s needs (not technology for its own sake). This served as an eye opener for me, realizing that good design can make life better for people. After that I applied to design schools and began my education in Umeå, Sweden. I changed school to Detroit and was suddenly naturally closer to designing cars. I graduated in Gothenburg and got my first job with Saab. I can identify myself with Volvo Cars since we are a less superficial car company than the competition, but still very cool.
What’s the focus right now?
Together with a great and small, but efficient, Chinese design team we are working hard to establish a Volvo Design studio in China. Me and my Director of Design Operations Anders Fogde are the only ISE´s/expats in design. The rest of the team are Chinese. They are the best! Our days are mostly focused on the start-up process. From networking and employing local designers to purchasing software as well as clay modeling equipment. This is a new dimension of design for me – setting up the underlying infrastructure to be able to produce results.
How does a regular day look for you?
The team sit down and start with a Swedish coffee (We try to convince each other to change habits, the local employees want us to switch to tea and hot water…) while planning the activities of the day as well as the week. I usually work 8.30am-6.30pm. We talk about design, China and new exciting business propositions for Volvo all the time. We develop and present lots of ideas on cars that are right for China while keeping a worldwide focus. I am lucky. This must be what Detroit was like in The 50s and it is happening right here and right now.
Which are the most inspiring projects you have taken part in and why?
The S60 concept car (2008) interior was a super fun privilege to be a part of. It really was the star of the 2009 Detroit motor show. I also enjoyed helping Andreas Nilsson, working closely with him on Volvo’s new design vision!
How do you spend your free time?
Family. And windsurfing when I get a chance. It is harder for me to find spots and wind in China. I will however go surfing in Vietnam soon, and now Australia is “within reach” (only 10-11 hours he he).
What in the local culture has inspired you?
I find inspiration everywhere in China. But I am really inspired by the warm, open and friendly atmosphere. China has been widely known for “copying” Western design; however now I start to see a growing/emerging self-confidence among young Chinese fashion, graphic and product design. A paradigm shift is coming – you’d better believe it!