Car Design Review 7: Peter Horbury, Geely

Peter Horbury

Geely’s Peter Horbury uncovers secrets of brand identity and discusses cultural influences in car design

I have found that as a designer, a fresh pair of eyes often sees the differences that make a culture interesting. After taking over as design director at Volvo in 1991, I went to a student exhibition degree show in Gothenburg and one student had designed a park bench. The back of the seats had a certain curvature. And I said to the graduate, ‘that’s really Swedish, isn’t it?’ He didn’t see it because he had done it completely naturally but I recognised it as being a much shallower curve than you would ever see on the back of a chair in England, for example. It was unique to Sweden.

So these things started to play a role in both the exterior and interior of the Volvos we were doing at the time. That’s part of my philosophy – look at where you are and use it.

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