Kartwheel Partners With Volvo For XC40 Launch
The 2019 Volvo XC40 was created as a challenge. Led by an award-winning design team, the XC40 was created to challenge traditional design decisions and incorporate modern technology, a different approach compared to how the rest of the Scandinavian brand’s cars are designed. Featuring storage compartments for tablets and laptops, wireless charging stations, and cord guides for organization, not to mention convenient features including fold-out hooks and a removable trash can, the XC40 is a first in its kind and a truly unique automobile.
In partnership with Volvo and marketing agency Nth Degree, Kartwheel was selected to be involved in a city wide event that allowed members of the media to test drive and interact with Volvo’s new crossover, the XC40. Kartwheel was commissioned to create an object that would communicate Volvo’s message of marrying smart technology with smart design, and demonstrate the way the two can seamlessly intermingle in our daily lives.
“For us it’s about much more than creating something that just looks cool. We understand what it means to tell a story and connect that story to a brand, and we were happy to partner with Nth Degree and Volvo to do that.”
Inspired by the history of Scandinavian design, our team created a desk that represents Volvo’s cutting-edge smart-design concept. We worked with Volvo designers to create a minimal wooden desk that successfully integrates smart technology. With a silhouette inspired by classic Volvo shapes and a sharp focus on functionality, the driving point throughout the design process was a quote by Charles Eames: “The details are not the details. They make the design.” Eames is one of the most respected designers in modern history, and a master of combining form and function in his own right.
The Volvo desk we created maintains the sleek and slim proportions seen in Scandinavian design while incorporating off-the-shelf smart technology elements. The team also made the desk ergonomic so that it would properly fit in with the modern work world.
“That was our main challenge, I wanted to eliminate the clutter on our desks, so we integrated a wireless charger for your laptop so there are no wires exposed when you’re working. Maintaining the slimmer proportions while incorporating products like wireless charging devices and scanners and bringing power to the desk was a challenge.”
The finished product can be used as a sit down or standing desk and includes a wireless laptop charger, phone charger, portable scanner, and additional storage. Finishing touches include a hexagonal modesty panel on the side, a reference to Volvo’s recognizable front grill, and drawers painted at the interior with the same shade of orange as is used on the floor of the XC40. The experience of opening the drawers as a real “Easter egg moment.”
The desk is “innovative, thoughtful, sleek, unique” and will be on display in Volvo North America’s New Jersey headquarters and remains a standout project in terms of concept execution and design for the Kartwheel team. Working with Nth Degree, Volvo, and their design team was truly milestone for Kartwheel.