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Automotive Designer Thomas Ingenlath Has Found His True North

Expected this summer, Volvo's Polestar 2 takes its cues from fashion and architecture.

By Matthew Dakotah

Photograph courtesy Volvo

First there was the dramatic revitalization of Volvo,

fueled by a fresh design language initially seen in the 2016 XC90 luxury SUV. Next came a new electric performance brand from the long-loved Swedish company and its parent, Geely Auto Group, with the launch of Polestar 1—an ultra-exclusive halo coupe with just 500 cars allocated for its first 2020 model year. Now comes the Polestar 2, an exquisitely crafted five-door fastback—expected this summer—with a distinctive crystal light blade illuminating its rear, and a vegan interior that takes inspiration from high-tech sportswear.

Leading the charge is Polestar CEO and Volvo Chief Design Officer, Thomas Ingenlath. “Of course, both Polestar and Volvo are Scandinavian, so this means a certain type of minimalism is critical for design at both brands,” he says. “But I am a heavy advocate for the two being very different. Volvo gives a sense of community both inside and outside the car. Polestar is much more selfish—it’s about you and the machine.”

Ingenlath watches both fashion and architecture for, as he explains, “almost opposite reasons”: fashion for cues in materials and color schemes, and architecture for the exterior because “buildings are some of the longest-lasting products you can design.” In the next decade, Ingenlath sees auto innovation centered on two things: the human-machine interface and CO2  neutrality. “The future of luxury means you are doing a good deed—making a thoughtful yet aspirational purchase,” he predicts. When asked how it feels to pursue perfection to such a degree, Ingenlath says, “People underestimate the effort that goes into the last third of the project, which is the hardest part. You have to fight for what’s right in the end product, but it’s worth it.”

We have to agree, as it seems that in Polestar, this designer has found his true north.


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