W e D e s i g n V o l v o

Featured Work - Lucas Haag.

Volvo is very keen on getting new and fresh design students to join our studios around the world. One of our interns - Lucas Haag from the Pforzheim School of Design in Germany - created this Volvo for his internal project during his internship in the spring of 2013. We think he did a great job and wishes him all the best for the future!

check out more images of the project at his home page here.

China emerge as design trend setters

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.

/Lars, Shanghai

Shanghai Tang

Shanghai Tang

Shanghai Tang

Shanghai Tang

More Volvo Ocean Race Inspiration

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.


Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

Inspiration  Volvo Ocean Race Edition

At Detroit Auto Show - Jonas Strömberg, interaction designer at Volvo

Jonas Strömberg

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 Expert on Volvo Models

Lennart by the shelf

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! 

Volvo Model & Lennart

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.”

Volvo Amazon Police

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. 

Volvo Model Car

"-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: 

Volvo Yellow 850 Detailed Model

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.

What inspires you?

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!


Game & Watch : Donkey Kong



Designing with Volvo Ocean Race in mind

Volvo Cars makes a Volvo Ocean Race edition and this time my job was to work on a detail of the interior that was specifically related to the competition Volvo Ocean Race. Volvo Ocean Race is the formula 1 of sailing and my objective was to create something that mirrored the cool, sporty feeling. 

I went through some ideas based on the landscapes and archipelago outside of Gothenburg but scrapped that idea since it was a bit too obvious as a symbol. I had just looked at nautical charts just before I went to one of the harbours visiting the boats. The sails on these extremely high tech boats reminded me about the nautical charts since they are full with lines of carbon.

While in the studio, I put the nautical chart in the background and combined with a shot from the harbor. If you look closely on the final result you will see that there are boats in the harbour. You can see it on decor panels in e.g. an XC 70 Volvo Ocean Race edition or on the passenger panel in a V60.


The second lap of Volvo Ocean Race runs between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi and preliminary date for reaching Abu Dhabi is the 1st of January. Cool to have a look at what they’re up to here.

The Designer Mustache of the Year

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 

All together


Marcus  The Winner
Winner! Marcus Nilsson



The State of Design

This is a video about the desire to create something new. We discuss inspirations, dreams and the worst parts of being a designer.
To work with a project like this is of course a dream for a car designer. To be part of the evolution of a concept car is a very unique process that challenges you to always push the limits of car design.

In the video you can see my colleague Conny describing the creative process behind his design -  "Your mind kind of goes blank, you know, like when you are in flow, like when you’re driving really fast or dancing really well, you don’t think about anything. You just do it".

Obviously all designers have their own sources of inspiration and their own way of describing the creative process. As my other colleague Jonathan put it - "It’s like creating a sculpture…but with wheels"! I often get my inspiration from nature, exciting landscapes and sometimes from animals. It is also very inspiring to be in an environment like this, surrounded by inventive people and great car design. /Andreas


The choice of beautiful interior materials and fabrics is very important for us. When designing the interiors we decided to focus on walnut wood with a satin finish. Notice how the walnut shade shifts from dark to light. Subtle design decisions like this contribute to the overall ambience and experience of a car. 

Wood closeup 2

Wood closeup

In the studio 2

in the studio

Studying different wood options

Our new concept

Volvo Concept You

Frankfurt Motor Show is getting close. Peter Horbury said that we are going to show the “…next step in our quest for the future Volvo”. We are happy to reveal the name of that next step, our new concept: Volvo Concept You. It is going to be relased in Frankfurt on September 13. Since Shanghai we have spent a considerable amount of hours in the design studio and the result is very special. 

Working With Genuine Material

To develop inspiring interior and enhance the Scandinavian roots in our design work, we have chosen to work with Kasthall for one of our projects. Have a look at some images we took at their atelier. They have developed hand tufted rugs since 1889. 


Kasthall production

Genuine material from Kasthall

Kasthall production

Hand tufted rugs

Kasthall production

Kasthall production

Handmade carpet on the wall at Kasthall

Kasthall production

Individualized coloring.

Kasthall production

Kasthall production

Kasthall production

5 Questions to Peter Horbury

The Concept Universe was introduced at Auto Shanghai in April. We asked our Design Director Peter Horbury five questions
/Jonathan & Andreas

Peter Horbury

You were at Auto Shanghai in April to launch the Concept Universe, a new kind of luxury car from Volvo. How was it received?
It was received amazingly well. The Chinese loved the bold exterior and the untraditional front-end. Our designers asked the Chinese how they would describe Concept Universe to a friend, and it was amazing to hear them use words such as solidfluiditysculptural and powerful. These are exactly the same words we were using when we initially set out to create this new design.

Why do car brands put so much money in developing concept cars? And more specifically, why did you design the Concept Universe?
Concept Cars are typically made to showcase new designs and new technology. We created Concept Universe to get feedback from the global car buying public, in order to find the ultimate design of the next large luxury sedan from Volvo. 

The Concept Universe was described as a design study. What does that mean, and what did the process look like?
A design study is something we do when we are still in the process of designing. We use design studies to try new things and showcase new ideas to see if they are accepted by our target customers. If they work, we develop them further, if not, then we change them. After presenting Concept Universe in Shanghai, we have collected global feedback through interviews and surveys, but also by closely monitoring social media comments. It has given us valuable insights and great inspiration.

When working on concepts cars and futuristic designs, where do you look for inspiration?
We look everywhere. On YouTube, in movies, fashion and arts, in stores, in nature and also in our own brand history. We spent two days at the Volvo museum to find inspiration for Concept Universe. We had an idea that the car should be something that Greta Garbo would drive or, in fact, be driven in. Something that wasn’t retro but had elegance to it. We wanted Concept Universe to feel expensive and turned to Georg Jensen for inspiration. We also asked our designers to forget about cars for a while, and to design sculptures. That way we brought fluidity and a sculptural gracefulness to the exterior. 

Frankfurt Motor Show is coming up in September. What can we expect from Volvo?
In Frankfurt, we will show you the next step in our quest for the future Volvo. We believe it is something that will exceed expectations of what Volvo design is.