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We recently had the opportunity to interview the designer of the ACC2's interior, Jonathan Dale.
Yes that's right, the guy responsible for creating the awesome interior of Volvo's latest Concept Vehicle, and he's very interested in what we've got to say about his work!
The ACC2 was conceived as an extreme version of the existing Cross Country, or V70XC/XC70. Equipped with features like studded Michelin snow tires, high performance drivetrain, and a "Utility Belt" of useful outdoor gadgets, the ACC2 is well equipped to take on the most challenging Winter conditions Mother Nature can dish out!
No word yet on whether or not this vehicle will see the market, but we're hoping at least some of the features on the car will be parlayed into production models.
Here's our discussion:
This is an exciting time for Volvo Cars and I think the ACC2 exemplifies this new direction for the company quite well, would you agree with that?
I agree, Volvo is making a great impact in the automotive world right now, especially in design. Our design language is very strong and the ACC2 simply enhances the Scandinavian and Volvo strengths that we have already achieved so far. The ACC2 has been a great success. The ACC2 shows that people are recognising Volvo and recognising great design. Pushing the XC in an extreme like the ACC2 direction is one way of looking at the possibilities of such a vehicle.
Design for a vehicle can be started in many different ways, by a great sketch or by engineers. Normally a designer will start to think in many different ways and sketch sketch sketch!
I tend to think with spider charts first to see where a direction could take me. I then tend to brain storm with the other designers and chiefs with images and what we would like the result to be. I think having a goal to aim for is the best way to achieve the best design. Once we know what we would like to do we interact within each department, marketing engineering, etc. Refining and honing the design until we have a great result... ACC2!
You're primarily an automotive exterior designer. Is it a challenge moving back and forth from the exterior to interior design?
Not really. I am a product designer with a degree in industrial design. I graduated with a Masters degree in car design from the RCA by designing a helicopter. So designing interiors or exteriors is just different it is a great challenge and really like a challenge, Interior design just has more to think about and many different areas which can be explored in a new way. Having a change, can sometimes be like Christmas when you have a new toy and finding out all the possibilities and getting excited again. Once you return to your old toys, you look at them in a new way. You see them in a new light. I am a great believer in having as much diversity as possible.
What projects have you worked on in the past which we might be familiar with?
I worked as a product designer in London while I was a student and worked on a Hagen Daz spoon!! I started my car design career at Audi. My first job there was the new Audi Cabriole. I left the company before the car hit the road, but the car is similar to when I was there. My friend, Frank Rimili a great guy, should be credited with the car however.
I have worked on a lot of concepts. I joined Ford in Germany. probably my most influential design was the concept of the London studio for all the Ford companies. I worked on the Mondeo ST, the next focus and other concepts which were really really great. A good time.... At Volvo I have worked on a number of different projects... all are still confidential... except for the ACC2.
How did you get your start in the automotive design field?
The RCA (Royal College of Art) is probably the best place to study if you want to design cars (or helicopters). I was interviewed by a number of companies and chose Audi design. A good grounding but I always really wanted to work for Volvo.
How has CAD changed the design process for you? For better or worse?
CAD is a tool, It is just another tool like the pen or clay. Once you can visualise in CAD, you can add this tool to your "utility belt" just like sketching. I personally can not imagine the design process without CAD.
Do you still begin with hand drawn illustrations?
Yes, this is still the place where we start. You still have to be able to communicate a design quickly and effectively, even if it is on a beer mat at the local pub!
What has been your greatest success and biggest setback during your career?
Isn't this where footballers say " money and Women"! I do not really see anything as a setback I will always look on the positive side. My greatest success was probably seeing my designs on the road for the first time. I also was very proud to have the opportunity to present the ACC2 at the Geneva motor show to the press.