Volvo Unveils Concept Universe Car

Today, at the Shanghai Auto Show, Volvo Cars visualises a masterpiece of Scandinavian design, inspired by Chinese philosophy. Concept Universe is Volvo’s most luxurious creation ever, and the brand’s answer to the question: “What is a beautiful car?” With this sculptural and luminary design study, Volvo wants to test a possible new design direction for the brand since it was acquired by Geely.

“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. With a pencil, one automatically draws hard lines, and that’s not what we wanted here. Instead I asked them to design sculptures. That way, we brought fluidity and a sculptural gracefulness to the Concept Universe. We reduced the number of lines, and took away all visual noise, to make it as simple and elegant as possible,” says Jonathan Disley, Strategic Design Manager Advanced, at Volvo Cars.

“Without the edges, all lines are infinite, marking distinctive inspiration from Scandinavian furniture design as well as Chinese writing. The Concept Universe is entirely built by hand and took a strenuous 8000 hours to finish.”

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.” This extraordinary brief brought about unexpected and inspiring discussions among the designers, and the director got what he wished for. The depth of the grill, with its layered design, luminary effects and planetary feel, resembles the universe, while an illumination bar between the tail lights reflect the colour spectra of the sun and the moon rising. Made of rubber compounds, the frosted tail lights accentuate a glowing, almost burning red light. The lights are with its silicone-like attributes also resistant to bumps and scratches.

At the same time as the Concept Universe opens the door into Volvo’s future, the design team found inspiration in Volvo’s iconic models of the past, such as the Volvo Amazon and Volvo PV 444. This is especially apparent in the concept’s smooth, rounded and soft lines. The inspirational pictures are to be found in Jonathan Disley’s design blog.

The aniline leather seats are tailored with utmost craftsmanship, with backrests made from first-class wool, usually found only in the most exclusive suits. Open the pockets and notice the extraordinary stitchery and the lining fabric in a strong accent colour, showcasing Volvo’s attention to detail. The centre stack and panels are made in walnut with fine details in hand-painted china, giving a nod to Volvo’s new owner and the age-old trade tradition between Sweden and China.

There is a growing appreciation for the ingenious blend of design and technology among luxury car buyers, and Concept Universe offers a fascinating contrast between traditional craftsmanship and highly advanced features. The driver’s in-command environment has intuitive controls and a touch-screen that approaches the hand when the driver reaches towards it. There is also a full-colour 3D head-up display, originally developed for military aviation, presenting the speedometer, navigation system and other important information directly on the windshield, without requiring the driver to look away from his or her viewpoint.

Designer: Volvo

27 Comments

  • Courtney says:

    Cool I wonder how much horse power.

  • Jason Wang says:

    Beautiful car at the rear 3/4 views, but I'm not digging the front fascia.

  • Kyle says:

    agreed Jason, It seems like they just didn't know what to do when it came to the grill and headlights, and just kinda winged it.

  • horrible! horrible horrible horrible horrible horrible! the current line of volvo is more sophisticated in general. hate the 3/4 back view of the car, where is the creativity? this looks exactly like a jaguar! don't even mention the front of the car, is this a joke?… i would fire the designers at volvo! makes me mad when something like this happens?

  • Roland says:

    Looks like an audi in some angles. Looks nice but I just dont get the feel that this is a volvo.

  • greg says:

    The front end is quite shocking, whereas the car is classic. But I find it much better than other current new car designs.

  • vik says:

    this designer and his team needs to be sacked

  • yankofan says:

    The back lost all it's identity of what makes Volvo a Volvo. And the front… I just have nothing to say about it. It's just so ugly.

  • Core says:

    Looks quite good. Front “grill” and light design is unique – of course diagonal bar with Volvo logo keeps it still — well, “volvo”.

    But then again, design owes something to latest Aston Martins and Chryslers… and the hood, I quess if viewed from other angles could be something they need to consider more…

  • Core says:

    Looks quite good. Front “grill” and light design is unique – of course diagonal bar with Volvo logo keeps it still — well, “volvo”.

    But then again, design owes something to latest Aston Martins and Chryslers… and the hood, I quess if viewed from other angles could be something they need to consider more…

    • Bauski says:

      Nothing volvo about that. Slamming the diagonal bar on random shapes doesn't bring it closer to the brand's identity

      • Core says:

        “Slamming the diagonal bar on random shapes doesn't bring it closer to the brand's identity”.
        Yeah! But that's how ***they*** did.

        Perhaps you can read the same thing between lines this way:
        Diagonal bar with Volvo logo. Take it off and — well, “no volvo”.

        What the he** – who cares? Fifteen years ago Volvos were just boxes with rounded edges… Today their true problem is the quality. Hopefully they will fix it first…

  • @yickth says:

    Overall I think it's beautiful. Job well done, design team! You seemed to put all those “lost” lines in the front though. I love the blunt front, but it's too line heavy in the headlights, imo. Of course, this being a concept, they won't see production. I like where this is going though. Nice, fluid shape. More interior shots please:)

  • inside hui, outside pfui… overall it looks very stolen from Audi, and the front like … mmh, plastictoycar… just like some stickers with a nonsense extra boarder on the top.

  • Bon says:

    hmmm…it looks to similar to this… .http://www.seriouswheels.com/2007/2007-Ford-Interceptor-Concept-Front-Angle-Studio-1920×1440.htm“ target=”_blank”> http://www.seriouswheels.com/2007/2007-Ford-Interceptor-Concept-Front-Angle-Studio-1920×1440.htm” target=”_blank”>.http://www.seriouswheels.com/2007/2007-Ford-Interceptor-Concept-Front-Angle-Studio-1920×1440.htm

    No creative on this Volvo. Fire the VP design director! All he did was taking the Ford interceptor designed and slap the Volvo logo on the grill.

  • FLX says:

    First of all, this looks nothing like a Volvo – just like the current S60. They should really consider their past unique brand identity and car styling.

    Then, overall I think the design is severely lacking. The side profile is beautiful but a direct copy of the XF, as well as the back. The only beautiful thing about the exterior are the rear lights. I cant even put in words how much I hate the front.

    The interior is another story, though – its marvellous, brilliant and hopefully they will go in this direction with their production cars! You can see more of it here: http://www.netcarshow.com/volvo/2011-universe_con

  • Vollevo says:

    Im a huge Volvo fan, and this is horible! I hope this stays in China.. The Swedes should have sold Volvo to the norwegians instead.. This is the start of the end of Volvo. Sad..

  • The rear is nice, the side view is nice, the front is not good at all. It looks like its gone back in time and been designed with a ruler.

  • sam says:

    No,no no no no. Volvo needs to go to the Swedish army barracks, Armor & Tanks division, visit the mechanics shop, and filter all the engineers that work there, then bring them to Volvo design center, give them crayons, and get their whatever they've designed as the official design for Volvo. It is a shame that Hummer is not a product of Volvo. Enough said

  • sam says:

    No,no no no no. Volvo needs to go to the Swedish army barracks, Armor & Tanks division, visit the mechanics shop, and filter all the engineers that work there, then bring them to Volvo design center, give them crayons, and get their whatever they've designed as the official design for Volvo. It is a shame that Hummer is not a product of Volvo. Enough said

  • SAM, BERN says:

    I guss your ass and the car design are competing for the the spot. Anyway! nice car nice asss

  • rental says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Volvo Unveils New Concept Universe
    Car at the Shanghai Automotive Show Yanko Design <Loved it!

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