Veteran Mercedes-Benz designer Steven Mattin, who led the design of the S-Class, C-Class sports coupé, SL and new M-Class, has been appointed to a top position at Volvo.

Veteran Mercedes-Benz designer Steven Mattin, who led the design of the S-Class, C-Class sports coupé, SL and new M-Class, has been appointed to a top position at Volvo.


As Volvo’s new design director, the Briton, who describes himself as a perfectionist – from first sketch to finished vehicle, aims to put his stamp on the Swedish firm’s future cars.


“A car is a sculpture on wheels,” said Mattin, who added that designing a car was always a team effort and called for commitment from all concerned. "I tend to live the brand – it is fixed in your brain and becomes impregnated in you soul”.


The Briton has worked for Mercedes-Benz ever since he graduated from Coventry University in 1987 with a BA (Hons) in Industrial Design (Transportation).


Mattin’s career in motor vehicle design began when he was 15… He and a friend entered – and won – a design competition organised by BP. Three years later he began his four-year degree course in industrial design, specialising in car design, including six months’ practical experience at Mercedes-Benz.


At the end of that course he was about to enroll for a masters degree at the Royal College of Art in London, but then a Mercedes-Benz representative offered him a job.


Ten years later he was named “Designer of the Year” by British motoring magazine . In the course of his career at Mercedes-Benz he was responsible for the exterior design of a whole series of models, including the A-Class, the S-Class, the C-Class sports coupé and the SL. He had the overall design responsibility for the new M-Class, Grand Sports Tourer concept and the production version of that vehicle, the R-Class.


Mattin enjoys seeing the finished product of his designs on the roads: “A car is an object constantly on the move, to be found in all sorts of different surroundings. You can be anywhere in the world and see one of your cars. You spread your own personality and creativity onto the rest of the world.


“The car industry is very prone to changing trends, but a judicious approach is essential. I try not to follow trends. It is best to be a trendsetter yourself," he added.


According to Volvo, the Briton is conscious of the designer’s share of responsibility for a vehicle’s ergonomics, safety and environmental aspects, and believes that good design is essential to enhance a brand’s core values. “Good design will last well and still be seen as fresh and new, years later. Design and quality go together – not just fit and finish, but also visual quality,” he said.