Steffen Köhl: Director Advanced Exterior Design.
Detecting international trends.
Which department do you head? Advanced Exterior Design, with design studios in Beijing (China), Carlsbad (USA) and Sindelfingen (Germany).
What are its main functions? We develop and create automotive design for future portfolio ideas and show cars as well as Mercedes-Benz standard-production vehicles. We also see our foreign design studios as brand ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz, by means of events, university contacts and the recruitment of local talent. The third function of the studios is to detect international trends in technology and design as well as architecture and art.
Passion for forms.
What is a typical working day like for you? My/the (Classic Design) working day is made up mainly of managing the design processes for various vehicle projects. This is done in meetings on 2D designs, so-called renderings, with the designers, as well as on 1:4 and 1:1-scale clay models with our model designers. Another daily task consists of managing the foreign design studios by means of video conferencing and other communication media and discussing their projects, that is unless I happen to be there in person. The working day is rounded off by several project meetings.
Where does your enthusiasm for design come from? It comes, of course, from my love of drawing and designing, but also from a passion for form, technology, art and architecture.
“Competition can act as an inspiration”.
What do you like doing in your leisure time?
Spending time with family and friends. Various sports, such as beach volleyball, inline skating, badminton. Reading and writing short stories.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From the infinite variety of impressions that present themselves to us every day; be it landscapes, works of art or products, conversations, spontaneous moods or, of course, the in-house competition for ideas at Mercedes-Benz Design. Competition itself can act as an inspiration.
Who or what would you have liked to be?Someone with the inherent physical ability to fly.
Previous positions within the company.
|Head of Advanced Design Center, Exteriors, Mercedes-Benz, 2008|
|Head of Exterior Design, Production Vehicles, 2005|
|Head of Advanced Design, Germany, 2001|
|Designer/Design Project Manager responsible for interior and exterior of SLR production vehicle (C 199), six-month project assignment at McLaren/UK, 2000|
|Co-designer with joint responsibility for exterior of SLR COUPE concept car (Detroit Motor Show), 1998|
|Team leader, design studio mid-range series/coupés/sports cars, 1996|
|Project-related assignment to the Advanced Design Studio, Irvine/USA, as head of conceptual design for exterior of SL (R 230), 1996|
|Designer responsible for exterior of CLK production vehicle (C 208), 1994|
|Designer responsible for exterior of C-Class racing car (W 202 DTM), 1993|
|Designer responsible for exterior of Coupé concept car (Geneva Motor Show), 1993|
|Designer responsible for interior of E-Class production vehicle (W 210), 1992|
|Automotive designer for exterior and interior passenger cars, 1988|