With the S90 and V90 station wagon presented at Detroit and Geneva respectively, Volvo takes its second step (after the XC90 SUV introduced last year) along the path to renew its entire range. “It’s a holistic approach to our portfolio”, explains Thomas Ingenlath. “When before have you ever seen a carmaker renew its entire range in just a few years? This has let us achieve a consistent look, while still giving each model its own character and identity.”
Ingenlath is chief of Volvo design, while exterior and interior design are headed respectively by Maximilian Missoni and Robin Page. These are the minds responsible for bringing the concept of Scandinavian design back into the automotive world.
“We started from the concept of functionalism laid down in the 1950s and ‘60s, adding technology and innovation to the mix, expressed clearly and logically but also with a measure of discretion, to ease the relationship between the human user and this design, which should offer pleasure and comfort” says Ingenlath. This doesn’t mean doing away entirely with decoration, he stresses, but using decorative elements with moderation, taste and elegance: “Our cars will never say ‘look at me, I’m a star’. But they are beautiful to those who use them and in their relation with the environment that surrounds them, with a long-term effect.” “The surfacing is without frills” says Missoni. “A single character line, which switches from positive to negative at the shoulder, is the only thing we’ve done to emphasise the quality of the design.”