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Volvo Unveils ‘Car for Fashionable Businessman Appreciating Scandinavian Luxury’


Mixed metaphors: The Volvo Concept Universe, “not macho, but yet very muscular, not overstated but elegant and delicate in every detail.”

“What is a beautiful car?” Volvo asked itself this question and answered with the Concept Universe, the first new design from Volvo since Beijing-based Geely acquired the company from Ford in March 2010. The car was unveiled last week at the Shanghai Auto Show, the product of Volvo chief designer Jonathan Disley and his team’s back-to-basics, up-with-luxury approach. “When we set out to create this concept, one of the first things I told the designers was not to draw cars for a week,” he said in a statement issued by Volvo. “Instead, I asked them to design sculptures.” The resulting car, built entirely by hand over 8,000 hours, exhibits “fluidity and a sculptural gracefulness…We reduced the number of lines and took away all visual noise.” OK, we’re with you. Unfortunately, Volvo wasted no time in filling that noise vacuum with endless rhetoric about the Concept Universe, making the press release read like something cobbled together by the contestants in an offshore version of The Celebrity Apprentice. Here are a few of our favorite excerpts from materials we received:

  • “With Volvo’s new tie to China in mind, the design director brought a more philosophical dimension to the design, as he wished for a car ‘with the depth of the universe and just as welcoming as the sun rising over a calm ocean.’”
  • “The depth of the grill, with its layered design, luminary effects, and planetary feel, resembles the universe, while the illumination bar between the tail lights reflect the color spectra of the sun and the moon rising.”
  • “The frosted tail lights accentuate a glowing, almost burning red light.”
  • “A car for the fashionable businessman appreciating Scandinavian luxury”
  • “Created for the confident, well-dressed businessman”
  • “‘Think of it as the car industry’s equivalence to a well-tailored Oswald Boateng [sic] suit,’ says Disley. ‘When you see it at a distance, you get intrigued, and the feeling when you get close or inside, is one of exquisite luxury.’”
  • “The designers were particularly inspired by the texture of George Jensen [sic].”
  • “If the Volvo Concept Universe were a place it would be, according to Disley, ‘the sophisticated parts of Paris/London expressing luxury in a Scandinavian modest way.’”

    Whether or not you’re a fashionable businessman, we suggest putting all of the above words out of your mind and checking out the design study itself here.

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