Volvo Cars Engages Orrefors in Work with New Concept Car
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN – Volvo Cars has engaged world-famous Swedish glassworks Orrefors in the work with the company's next concept car, which will be a first taste of the next-generation Volvo S60. The joint creation, a floating centre stack of hand-made Orrefors crystal, will be shown for the first time at the Detroit international motor show in January 2009.
In the concept car, the graceful, crystal-clear center stack forms a gentle, calm wave from the instrument panel all the way to the rear seat backrest.
"It almost looks like a waterfall from the instrument panel, flowing through the center of the car," says Volvo Cars design director Steve Mattin.
The crystal panel appears to float above the centre console's smart functionality. It rests softly on rubber pads and with the help of invisible light sources the crystal's shimmering glow can be tailored to match the driver's mood.
"If you want to explore the full scope of Scandinavian design, Sweden's glassworks are a natural source of inspiration. Large glass areas are also very much part of modern Swedish architecture, creating the special, light transparency," says Steve Mattin.
He adds: "In a concept car, you are able to release your imagination and creativity. Our iconic, super-thin centre stack was the perfect subject. We reinterpreted it and gave it a refined new form. Then it was up to Orrefors to use their superb skill to transform our exciting vision into reality."
Crystal-like Future Plans
In order to meet the relevant strength standards, the finished piece consists of three sections joined together at the Volvo Cars concept car workshops.
"The full-size crystal piece in the concept car will not be a production feature. However, it does open up opportunities to use crystal on a smaller scale in the future. We'll have to see how our customers respond," says Steve Mattin.
Creativity and Functionality
Although the material in the center stack radiates uninhibited artistic freedom, the functions that are integrated have been thought through in every single tiny detail.
Beside the driver's seat, the crystal console cuts straight through the instrument panel and its upper section forms a navigation screen at the precise height of the driver's combined instrument.
At the bottom, the four iconic rotating controls protrude from elegant matt-polished recesses in the glass panel. In the middle there is a removable remote control.
The gear selector has a versatile new shape. In the horizontal position it offers drive in automatic mode. If the driver is in the mood for sporty manual gearchanges, the lever can be flipped up into the vertical position. Beside the gear selector there is also a starter button and parking brake.
The centre console runs all the way to the rear seat backrest, and under the crystal panel between the individual seats there are two drinks holders that slide elegantly forward when required.
"We've put the focus on ergonomics and safety. With the combined instrument at the same height as the navigation screen, all it takes is a horizontal eye movement to switch between sources of information. Another example is that the controls used when you start and stop driving are a few centimetres from each other near the gear selector," explains Steve Mattin.