Dutch Design Week 2014: Volvo Design Challenge

As well as providing the free transportation for Dutch Design Week visitors this year, Volvo is staging an exhibition of proposals by established and emerging designers that rethink the materials, texture and experience of car travel.

Commissioned to respond to the idea of “experience in motion”, Dutch designers Van Eijk & Van Der Lubbe have created a fabric-covered space in the form of the Volvo XC60. The installation imagines that autonomous cars have removed the need to pay attention to driving at all. Instead, the interior of the car is given over to sleeping, eating and socialising, with a bed in the bonnet, a table and cookware in the middle and a curved wooden bench at the rear.

Five up-and-coming Dutch designers have entered the Volvo Design Challenge, applying their own practice to reimagine the Volvo XC60. In his project Volvo True Colours, Lex Pott proposes stripping back the paint from the exterior of the car, revealing a structure of steel, aluminium, copper and brass that will oxidise and weather over time to take on a colourful and unique patina.

Tomm Velthuis‘ proposal – called XC60 Wannabe, Admirer Kit – allows customers who cannot afford the car itself to nonetheless buy into the Volvo lifestyle. A walnut chest contains the add-ons that can transform any car into a Volvo-esque model, including a grille logo, seat cushions, key and CD of authentic Volvo sounds.

Kim Beekmans‘ Second Skin visualises the reputation of Volvo as one of the safest car brands, applying a velvety surface to the shell of the exterior so that the car is cocooned in a protective skin.

Atmosphericar by buro BELÉN begins with the proposal that as autonomous cars become 100% safe and accident-free, stainless steel structures will no longer be necessary. Designers can then begin to incorporate personalisable materials that perform purely decorative or atmospheric functions, such as pearlising, filtering the air in the car or displaying climate information.

Winning the contest’s €5000 prize, Mianne de Vries‘ Capture Vase is a light-sensitive vase encased in a black box, which uses pinhole camera technology to capture favourite landscapes as drivers travel around. The resulting image on the vase aims to provide a lasting memento of the driving experience and the sights enjoyed while on the road.

For more insight into automotive innovation, Homebuildlife subscribers can access our trade show coverage from this month’s Paris Auto Show 2014, and find out more about how car brands are moving into the design arena in our Think Tank report Beyond Cars To Brand Lifestyles.

– Sarah Housley

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