Meet the interior designer behind the Volvo EX30

When you’re short on space – like in our new, all-electric small SUV – you need to think twice about how to use it.

Recently, we revealed our new, small SUV: the #VolvoEX30 It’s not just gorgeous on the outside; the interior features an array of smart storage ideas, intuitive tech and recycled and renewable materials – factors that together make up the best of what Scandinavian design has to offer.

But as with every new car we reveal, it wouldn’t be possible without all our fantastic people whose ideas, attention, skills, hard work and passion are manifested in the finest of products. This article series highlights a few of the Volvo experts who’ve put their hearts and minds into the development of the new EX30.

Meet Patrik Müller-Horn from our magic-making design team. He’s been overseeing the design development across the entire interior of the new car, from the instrument panel to the luggage area. We talk about how Patrik early in his career vowed to himself to one day be part of the Volvo Cars team, how designing cars while travelling the world on the back of a motorcycle would be the ultimate job and much more.

Hi Patrik! What’s your contribution to the new Volvo EX30?

I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the EX30 design project from its very beginning, and to see it through to the present day. Together with colleagues from other design teams, we started a series of strategic workshops to set some common goals for the project. In this phase, I provided guidance to make sure our progress stayed on track. During the pandemic, we were forced to shift to working from home for a short time. We adapted by working in smaller teams and communicating online, and once we were able to return to the studio, we could finally complete the major design work. It’s been an incredible journey filled with exciting stories – enough to fill a book. I am immensely proud of everyone involved, and we’ve grown into a big family that all share the same love for the EX30.

What stands out to you about our new car?

We’ve been committed to sustainability, and I’m very proud that it served as the foundation for our innovative centralisation approach. The most sustainable object is the one that doesn’t exist, so to minimise our environmental impact, we took a hard look at every part of the cabin. At the same time, we didn’t want to compromise on functionality, so instead we aimed for versatility and bundling multiple functions into one component. Together with our colleagues in the color and material departments, we created and implemented an array of highly sustainable materials. The result can be seen in the distinctive and modern expression of the car and an exterior that is simply stunning. What’s particularly impressive is that it has a unique look without falling into the category of a cute small car. Everyone in the studio is excited to see it on our streets soon!

When and why did you start working at Volvo Cars?

I began my journey with Volvo Cars around five and a half years ago. I grew up in Finland in a peaceful environment close to nature. Having spent several years working for a German car company, I longed to return to the calmer Scandinavian atmosphere. Throughout the years, I’ve come to admire the Volvo Cars brand. Surrounded by boxy Volvos in my neighbourhood during my childhood, I was always impressed by their practicality and elegant simplicity. Early in my career, I promised myself that one day I would be part of creating Volvos myself. Although it took some time for the perfect opportunity to arrive, I’m thrilled to be here now, keeping the promise I made to myself. What is your favourite thing about working here? I love the collaborative problem-solving approach we have in our team. Whenever we encountered an obstacle during the EX30 project, we would gather in a large room with whiteboards and markers. We generated numerous potential solutions through intense discussions and brainstorming sessions and the following day, we would refine those ideas and select one that eventually made its way into production. I just love that kind of creative interaction and idea exchange, almost like a game of Ping-Pong, which ultimately leads to great ideas.

Has your career taken the path you expected?

I've always worked hard, challenged myself and stayed curious and persistent. And now I find myself in a position I couldn't have imagined: leading a very talented team of interior designers and working on exciting projects together. Every day, I strive to create an environment where my team can be creative and grow. The most rewarding part for me is seeing them challenge themselves and thrive.

Before we round off, what would you be doing if you didn’t do what you do today?

As a child, I came across a book about ancient Egyptian culture. It fascinated me deeply and sparked a strong desire to explore the world. Before having children, I was fortunate enough to travel the world and visit incredible places like the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the underwater world of Sulawesi in Indonesia, the rice fields of Laos, and the charming colonial towns of Cuba. If there was a way for me to combine my passions for design and travel, I would love to design cars while riding my motorbike and exploring different parts of the world. And you know what, I still haven’t been to Egypt!

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