With the interior of the Volvo S60 Concept, Volvo Cars' design director Steve Mattin and his team are displaying a variety of spectacular next-generation ideas.
"You could say that we are showing the road we would like to take in the future. This interior is without doubt the most exclusive we have ever created," says Steve Mattin.
When the parallelogram doors finish their high-tech display, they reveal an interior packed with exciting details, all of which together create a Scandinavian fresh light feeling, full of visual harmony. In the middle of the four-seater car glitters the jewel in the crown: a floating centre stack crafted from handmade, solid Orrefors crystal. It floats like a gentle, calm wave from the instrument panel all the way to the rear seat backrest.
"It resembles a waterfall that flows down from the instrument panel and then courses along the middle of the car's interior," says Steve Mattin.
The crystal panel appears to float above the centre stack's well-thought-out practical functions. It is partially framed by polished aluminium trim and is cushioned on rubber pads. 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. What is more, large glass panels are a central part of the very openness that characterises modern Swedish architecture," explains Steve Mattin.
Creativity and functionality
Although the material in the centre stack radiates uninhibited artistic freedom, the functions that are integrated have been thought through in every single tiny detail.
"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 the 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.
The entire driver's environment has been designed to provide total overview and convenient control. The driver is backed up by logical instruments, easily accessible controls and sophisticated technology that monitors the surrounding traffic, ready to alert the driver in the event of danger.
The combined instrument is similar in design to the unit in the Volvo XC60 Concept. It resembles a bumble-bee with a round speedometer as the "body" flanked by two digital "wings" providing all the other information.
"The speedometer is designed as a three-dimensional glass spiral. The low numbers appear closest to the eye and the figures appear to be increasingly distant as you accelerate. The idea is that the speedometer should provide a visual reminder of the force of the forward motion," explains Steve Mattin.
The combined instrument too has the centre stack's floating, almost weightless feel about it. The instrument is built up in several layers. In the gaps between the layers concealed vents contribute to better airflow inside the cabin.
Here too there is a link to the exterior's "racetrack" theme in the form of the unbroken line around the instrument. A copper frame matches the concept car's paintwork.
Safety information in the head-up display
Above the combined instrument, the driver receives information and alerts from the preventive safety systems via the windscreen's head-up display. Information from the car's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is integrated in the A-pillars.
The three-spoke steering wheel has integrated multifunctional rotating controls. The open lightweight aluminium pedals echo the design language of the concept car's wheels.