Quiet beauty, rather than flashy bling. That is the essence of Swedish luxury. Designer entrepreneur and trend analyst Mathilda Tham jumps in a Volvo S80 Executive to go looking for the roots of Swedish style - and ends up in nature and tranquillity.
Luxury, throughout history, has stood for that which is rare and precious. In Western affluent society, with its abundance of consumer goods, it follows that commodities without a price tag, such as the experience of simplicity, silence, time, care and trust have become the new luxury.
With the Volvo S80 Executive, Volvo Car Corporation enters the luxury segment. But the company doesn't forget its core values: Safety and modern design.
These values are firmly rooted in the Swedish heritage - the quiet beauty of the landscape, the care about the environment and the attention to functional detail. Swedish luxury is quiet, simple, with a fine eye for exquisite details and intelligent functionality, following the ethos that ‘true beauty comes from the inside'. It offers an alternative to the flashy ‘bling' culture prominent in recent years and targets an audience with a confident, conscious and intelligent perspective, a customer that seeks a car that signals good taste.
Silvia Güllsdorf, project director of the new S80 Executive, says of the Swedish take on luxury:
"Swedes wear discrete and stylistically clean jewellery rather than chucky gold chains. Swedish furniture has a simple and pure aesthetic, yet offers high functionality. The refined and educated eye can understand both the design and the quality that is characteristic of Swedish luxury."
To understand the new dimension of luxury that Volvo Car Corporation offers with the Volvo S80 Executive we must explore the rich Swedish heritage.
"Stockholm's archipelago is Sweden's best secret, says José L. Diaz de la Vega , Chief Designer Strategic Design, Volvo Cars."
He has been with the company for seventeen years and describes how he loves the simple beauty of the Swedish landscape, a love he shares with the Swedes who cherish the country's beautiful lakes, wide meadows and open coastlines.
The landscape proved an important influence when the new Volvo S80 Executive was designed. Soft, yet distinct lines define the car's silhouette, and the gently curved instrument panel takes our thoughts to a meadow dressed in recently fallen snow.
The clean countryside and the Nordic light are translated into ingenious design solutions that create a home away from home, a haven. An important aspect of Swedish luxury is this very access to tranquillity, nature, space and time for solitude. In addition to safety, the car's spacious interior, and the craftsmanship of the hand-selected leather, offer an experience of feeling cared for. Such features communicate that time and thought have been dedicated by the design team to secure supreme comfort and safety.
The aim is to offer the customer a comfortable, dynamic and safe drive with full control over both the car and the surrounding traffic. The S80 is the first Volvo offering Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning and Brake Support. This system maintains a selected distance to the vehicle in front. If the gap closes so fast that a collision is likely, the system alerts the driver and pre-loads the braking system. To Swedes and to most people of the world, the ability to care about yourself and your passengers is an appreciated form of luxury offered by the S80 Executive.
Swedes, however, don't like to brag. Consequently, they have traditionally been careful about showing off. While Volvo has always been known as a safe car of the premium quality, it is now time to reinforce Volvo Cars' position in the luxury segment.
As Chief Designer Strategic Design José L. Diaz de la Vega explains it:
"Coming from another culture, it was obvious to me that Swedes traditionally have shunned the luxurious, it has been shameful to indulge. In recent years the luxury perspective of the continent has influenced the Swedes but it is clear that they seek more understated and intelligent pleasure. With the new Volvo S80 Executive we have cracked the code of the unique Swedish luxury. Our new luxury car radiates prestigious, yet celebrates the simplicity of modern Swedish design."
Wherever in the world you may live, you can indulge in Swedish luxury behind the wheel of a new Volvo S80. It is the luxury of driving comfortably, safely and in great style.
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