Not Just Cars: Volvo Dealers Now Carry On Scandinavian Design Tradition In Glass


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GOTHENBURG - April 20, 2006: Scandinavian design may just have acquired an additional 2,400 market outlets in 50 countries. In addition to attractively designed cars, Volvo Cars dealerships are now selling elegantly styled tableware in the form of a collection from top designers, such as Lovisa Wattman of Höganäs, Anders Ljungberg of Boda Nova, and Eva Solo and Ingegerd Rĺman of Orrefors.

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Volvo Cars is constantly exploring new means of expressing what the brand stands for, and is looking more and more beyond traditional forms. The company is currently accentuating its Scandinavian design language by producing an exclusive glass and porcelain service that dealers around the world will use when entertaining customers. However, pieces from the range will also be available for purchase by anybody who wants elegantly designed everyday articles for use at home.

The Volvo Cars launch of new designs and layouts for exhibitions and car showrooms around the world has been under way for some time under the Volvo Next Face banner. Now, the concept has now been expanded so that anybody with an interest in top-quality design can set the table for a business dinner with glass and porcelain of modern Scandinavian design.

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Birgitta Andrén-Pihl, Senior Manager Brand & Product Experience

Table draws threads together Birgitta Andrén Pihl is in charge of exhibitions at Volvo Cars. In plain language, this means that she is responsible for coordinating everything that physically reflects Volvo’s values and what the brand stands for.

“All of our work is based on the fact that cars are driven by people, and safety, environmental care and quality are our consistent core values. But we also want to show that we are concerned with the good things in life – and what is more important than the social circle of family and friends that we are now focusing on?” asks Birgitta Andrén Pihl.

Well-being and togetherness are words that crop up often as Birgitta Andrén Pihl describes the company’s venture into glass, porcelain and cutlery:

“We are in the process of changing the design of all of our sales outlets. The new design expresses Scandinavian design tradition at its best, featuring a great deal of light and clean lines. If a customer is offered a cup of coffee or a meal by the dealer, it must be served with style. So we are now ensuring that all dealers can equip themselves with the coffee and dinner services, glass, cutlery and other accessories needed to set an elegant table. We have even included a set of specially designed schnapps glasses that are cut by hand to give each piece its own unique character.”

Parts of the range are available for sale to people who want to acquire Scandinavian design for their own homes.

“We are thinking of expanding the range if all goes well,” says Birgitta. “We know that our customers – especially those outside Scandinavia – are very interested in Scandinavian design.”

Volvo is clearly moving towards a new holistic philosophy. Until now, customers have been able to source all of their car requirements from the dealer. Now, the choice has been widened to include living itself.

Details make the difference The new Volvo service has nothing in common with commemorative plates and glass items decorated with paintings of cars and traffic signs. Far from it! In fact, it is a modified version of the well-known Nobel dinner service and anybody looking for a Volvo logo must look long and hard for it – although it is there. The various pieces in the service are made by reputable companies like Rörstrand, Höganäs and Ittala.

“We have opted for a sober style and tasteful functionality rather than trumpeting the Volvo logo. We want it to convey the message that this is how a Volvo customer lives,” explains Birgitta Andrén Pihl.

The cutlery is designed to express stylishly pure elegance and convey a cool attitude, in much the same way that we would want a somewhat sportier car to stand out.

“Since the plates are slightly oval rather than completely round, they challenge one’s visual feeling for form. Challenging the traditional is also what the venture is about.

“It is often said that we need to invigorate our lives – that we should indulge ourselves in those refined little extras that gild our living environment. To us at Volvo Cars, offering beautiful and functional Scandinavian design is one way of doing that,” concludes Birgitta Andrén Pihl.

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