The visionaries

The beauty of simplicity

The new S90 and V90 embody modern Swedish luxury.
Meet the designers behind the detail.

Minimal by design

Thomas is sitting at his desk in Volvo Cars’ Gothenburg headquarters. Like his designs, his office is stylish, modern and uncluttered. The design team works within walking distance of everyone else that creates and develops Volvo cars, unlike many other manufacturers. Close collaboration lies at the heart of an exciting new generation of Volvo models.

It was important that the S90 and V90 visually reflect their Scandinavian surroundings, says Thomas: “We wanted to communicate what is so special about living here. About the natural beauty of simple details put together. It’s an incredible privilege to have the quality and the materials to allow us to achieve it.”
"Swedish luxury is about the beauty of simplicity. To have the quality and the materials to achieve this is an incredible privilege."

The harmony of luxury

Volvo Cars’ definition of luxury is about more than just exclusive materials, says Thomas: “Some things that we take for granted at Volvo Cars are actually luxury elements. Our focus on safety is a luxury thing to do – we put in a lot of effort, research and money to get it right.”

“Car design today isn’t just about delivering beautiful shapes,” says Thomas. “You need to have a holistic view. You have to work with colleagues in the electronics department, communications, everywhere. Otherwise the product experience will be a very limited one.”


Introducing the new S90 and V90

"A big part of the Zen-like feeling lies in the materials, which radiate an inviting calm. It’s not just the product, it’s the feeling it gives you."

Truly Scandinavian

A further example of the innovative treatment of authentic materials is the way that leather has been used, explains Tony. “We produced unique tooling to create the leather panels for the cars. It gives the freedom to have seams and stitching wherever we want, allowing us to design the interiors to suit that. And we strove to get the leather-clad remote control key, which gets the same leather trim as you do for the seats and interior. That is new in the automotive industry.”

The leather, wood, matt carbon fibre and colour-coordinated keys not only look good, they are a joy to touch. They are a premium expression of true Scandinavian craftsmanship.
Inspired by the Scandinavian mindset, Maximilian Missoni and Tisha Johnson describe their approach to the interior and exterior of the new V90 and S90.

Forward thinking

Maximilian says the confident and powerful looks of the S90 and V90 were born out of Volvo Cars’ new scalable car platform, known as SPA. It enabled the designers to push the front wheels forward, creating dash-to-axle space (the distance between the centre of the front wheels and the vertical line where the windscreen intersects with the bonnet), lending it very powerful, premium proportions.
“You can have beautiful styling on bad proportions and not get the same emotional response,” says Maximilian. “Everything starts with the Volvo Iron Mark, then we build the grille around it. This proud, high, floating grille is a strong signature for us. It’s inspired by Volvo’s iconic P1800 coupé (1961-1973) and we also showed it in the concept cars that we revealed in 2013 and 2014, before its debut in the new XC90.”
"The modesty that is embedded in Swedish design is extremely modern."
Once the proportions are established, then the “form language” – its shape – defines the car’s character. In the case of the S90 and V90, it communicates solidity and confidence. Maximilian indicates a subtle contour line on the bonnet. “Of course we all know that this is sheet metal, but this line implies that the material has been scooped out of a solid block.”

This solidity is reflected in the rear hatch of the V90. “You see a lot of straight shut lines on competitor cars as they are easier to build, but we interlock the graphics of the lamps and panels with each other. It’s a challenge because it requires three different points to be perfectly aligned in assembly, but it gives you a much more solid feeling.”
"Swedish life is, by nature, a kind of luxury. The country is unspoiled. Forest, lakes and ocean are available to all. Our aim is to bring this uniquely Swedish experience to customers."

The Scandinavian sanctuary

Tisha says that the cabins in the S90 and V90 are the result of a clear vision: “People are captivated by the idea of a Scandinavian sanctuary – how Swedes desire wide, open spaces. We bring this to our cars by using panoramic roofs and materials that are light and natural.”

That feeling of airiness, light and space is especially noticeable in the V90 – an elegant estate in a very modern way. Tisha, an American, describes it in the same terms as the open space you get inside a Swedish home; the roof allows light to flood in, like the skylight over a staircase.

Well-designed seating is a feature of many Swedish homes. Slender front seatbacks in the S90 and V90 are sculpted to give more knee room for rear passengers, yet provide the safety and ergonomic support you’d expect from Volvo Cars.


Everything we do is designed around people, so every innovation we make is designed to simplify and improve your life – and that has always carried through naturally into Volvo’s ethos of car making. Explore our #HumanMade stories, projects and partnerships further.