“We share a love of cars.”
At Volkswagen, designing a new model always involves a large team. That was no different in the case of the new Golf: designers from a diverse range of disciplines helped to shape the car and contributed to the design of the Golf with their own individual skills, experience and passions. We spent a day with two such designers, discovering what moves them, what inspires them, and what drives them. “People shaping the Golf”, part 3 – Astrid Göring and Tomasz Bachorski on their favourite places in Wolfsburg and Braunschweig.
Her working environment: the field of Color & Trim. In it, Astrid Göring creates exterior colours, like those for the new Golf. The stables on the outskirts of Wolfsburg are where she spends her free time – and yet, they are vitally important for her work. For a change, today sees a meeting of those two worlds: her colleague Tomasz Bachorski is visiting her at the farm, to take a close look around this very special world.
Fresh space for new ideas. Tomasz heads the Interior Design department at Volkswagen. His first love is sporty cars with a distinctive sound, but Tomasz can totally understand the appeal of the horse ranch too: “As a designer, you are constantly looking for something new. However, you never specifically go looking for a source of inspiration. It is more the activities you partake in that lead you to think differently – and to let go, so that you can come back fresh again.” Astrid agrees: “I am convinced that you have to take a step back now and then, in order to be able to start over. That way, you free up space on your hard drive!”
Patterns and colours are ubiquitous for Astrid. For over 20 years, car design has cast its spell on her. At Volkswagen since 2012, many models have Astrid to thank for their individual colour schemes. They include the new Golf, sitting proudly here in the yard with its fresh lemon yellow, a colourful contrast to the rural ambience. Sat for the first time in a Golf in “her” colour, Astrid cannot help but smile. “Colours release emotions. For example, this lemon yellow always puts a smile on my face. I love it when colours put people in a good mood or make them happy.”
Lasting forms and modern worlds. The two Volkswagen designers have made their way to the riding arena. Astrid is longeing mare Asti, while Tomasz initially watches the show with due respect. After taking the spectacle in for a short while, he takes the line and leads the horse. Tomasz is impressed by the power and elegance of his four-legged friend.
Tomasz has been working for Volkswagen since 1997. This is the third time he has worked on a new generation of Golf. The experienced interior designer is excited by the contrasts thrown up by automobiles: he loves classic cars, like his 50-year-old Porsche 911, but also everything the digital future has to offer: “Sometimes I am a petrol head. I like loud engines, but I also like the sound of an electric drivetrain. I love the world of vintage cars, but I love automotive progress and the digital age even more. The tension between lasting form, the modern world and the search for the next innovation – that is something I always find very liberating. It allows me to think a lot further ahead.”
He and his team worked very passionately on the next generation of Golf: “We are bringing the joy of driving into the car, as well as the feeling of being at home. A driver-oriented interior architecture, intuitive controls, modern materials, and the driving itself – our work on the Golf focussed on all of the above. In the past, for example, a lot of buttons in a car was seen as a sign of great comfort. It was also a kind of status symbol: people wanted to show off the functions that they could afford. That is no longer the case nowadays. What people want in the automotive world is changing – definitely thanks in part to our innovative impetus,” he says with a smile.
Tomasz pulls out his mobile phone and taps it vigorously: “When the first buttonless phone hit the market, it was revolutionary. That was new – and it took a while to get used to it. There were sceptics, who could not imagine a phone without buttons. Nowadays, we see and use this world very differently!” Tomasz opens the door of the lemon-yellow Golf, and points proudly to the interior: “Doesn’t it look fantastic? Car design for the digital age. We have basically redefined the entire class of vehicle.”
Small details, great effect. A change of location, and a change of roles. This time, Tomasz has invited Astrid to visit his personal world of inspiration: a workshop in Braunschweig. A stark contrast to the idyllic horse ranch: it stinks of oil, tools jingle, and a radio plays quietly in the background. It is plain to see that this is Tomasz’s world. “Working on vintage cars, doing DIY or assembling furniture puts different thoughts in my head. Different materials and shapes – it expands my world of experiences.” His absolute dream car, a restored Porsche 911T from 1970, is being looked after here in this workshop, and this is where Tomasz likes to spend time.
Astrid is impressed – particularly by the wonderful colours of the many 911s here at Schrader Porsche Works. “Well, there are a few more PS in here. It smells great – the smell of my childhood.” Tomasz grins: “For me, this is like taking a power nap.” Surrounded by appealing shapes from throughout automotive history, it doesn’t take long for the two designers to start philosophising. “It is exciting to see classic cars and to think: when they hit the road, they were seen as the future,” Tomasz ponders, as Astrid chuckles.
She has brought a gift for her colleague: paper craft sets, to build a Mustang and a Bugatti Veyron. She has unwittingly hit the bullseye, twice: one arouses Tomasz’ love of classics – the other is a car, for which he himself once drafted the interior design. Together, they assemble the paper models, reminiscing about the past as they do so: “My car-mad father always used to bring new Matchbox cars home. Every model, every colour. That is where it all started,” Astrid recalls. Tomasz listens attentively with a smile: “I used to save up for them. I would then modify them with plasticine and paint them with my mother’s nail varnish. I was about five years old at the time.” He laughs out loud. “So we are both car people – from an early age.”