Automotive design is a supreme discipline of this noble branch of industry. The Design department at ŠKODA AUTO is certainly one of the most important factors in the success of the Mladá Boleslav company. The Color&Trim team is responsible for selecting and combining colours, materials and details in the interior as well as the exterior colours. Andrea Jensen, ŠKODA Color&Trim Coordinator, reveals how her team works and where they draw inspiration from.
Ms Jensen, to begin with could you tell us where you come from and why you decided to work at ŠKODA AUTO?
I come from Germany but I have Czech-Danish origins so that may be one of the reasons that brought me to the Czech Republic. I currently live and work in Mladá Boleslav, and I must say that I really like it here. I love the surroundings and the historical town centre. Also, the Design department at ŠKODA is highly regarded and internationally successful, and I am glad to be a part of it.
Could you tell us something about your career path?
I started my career in design as an intern in the Color&Trim department at SEAT in Martorell, Spain. Then, I moved to the Volkswagen design centre in Potsdam, which was the same department within the Group where I started to work as a designer. In June last year, I accepted the offer to become the Color&Trim Team Coordinator at ŠKODA AUTO. In retrospect, I see it as a good decision because our cooperation here is very creative and friendly.
The ŠKODA Design department is known for its international environment. Do you consider it an advantage?
I certainly do! People working here come from more than two dozen countries. I think it's amazing that you can communicate in so many languages in our department. And yet, we are a perfectly coordinated team that has done a lot of work. We produce cars for the whole world and that is also why having an international team that can develop ideas into a final product is so important.
The Color&Trim team is responsible for the selection of the right material and colour combinations in cars. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I'd describe it as creative sparks happening around us every day. We observe what people are wearing, how they combine their colours and materials, even in the minutest of details, like the pattern on a tie or a scarf. We draw inspiration from magazines, the Internet, we follow modern architecture and fashion. Various exhibitions also inspire us, be they local or global. There really is a lot of stimulus and information influencing our output, but our objective is always to achieve a result that does not only look good and trendy, but that also has a more sustained value and incorporates the traits of the ŠKODA brand.
Could you describe your team’s working process?
Each member of our team is responsible for a particular material or car part. In our team, you can find people specialised in leather, textile, interior colours, exterior paints, shapes of accessories and many others. Based on their knowledge, expertise, feeling and inspiration, they develop the latest materials, colours and other design elements for ŠKODA cars in cooperation with suppliers from all around the world.
The world of cars is unstoppably heading towards e-mobility and autonomous driving. Will these changes influence your work at Color&Trim in any way?
The period of these changes is absolutely fantastic for us as car designers. These new technologies within the automotive environment open new horizons for us. In our current concepts, you can already see some fascinating changes to the interior. Design should arouse emotions, and this is our goal for both the present and the future.
In your opinion, what key qualities should a Color&Trim Team Coordinator have?
A coordinator should always be open to new thoughts and interesting ideas. They should remain positive and motivated, transferring this energy to the team and people they work with. I think that the ability to communicate is very important; the same goes for the understanding of various work-related and life situations.
Do you have a favourite car part you like working on during the design process?
We strive for the mutual harmony of materials and colours of the interior and the exterior, creating the best possible result together. Finding the right combination that we – and especially our customers – will like is what I enjoy most in my work.
It would be a sin not to ask the following question. What is your favourite car colour and what car do you drive yourself?
Favourite colour? I have a new favourite every minute! (smile) At the moment, I drive a steel grey Octavia RS, though I am also particularly fond of the Dragon Skin exterior colour.
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