The debut last year of Volvo’s fully autonomous, full-electric 360c concept put a big smile on Samuel Chuffart’s face.
“I was very happy when I first saw the Volvo 360c,” said the global design director at independent styling firm Icona.
That’s because it looks very similar to the fully autonomous, full-electric Nucleus concept created by Chuffart and his team.
“They [Volvo] came to our stand at the Geneva show [in March 2018]. I’m not implying they did the 360c like us on purpose [the 360c debuted in September 2018]. They were surely working on it before. But I’m sure that seeing our car made them comfortable about the direction they were heading,” said Chuffart, who is the former head of design at Italy's Stile Bertone, which collapsed in 2014.
Before he joined Stile Bertone in 2008, Chuffart held high-level design posts at Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover. In 2010, Chuffart became one of the founding members of Icona. In the beginning, he had a team of just two designers. Today the company has design centers in Turin, Shanghai and near Los Angeles.
Chuffart said another reason Icona was pleased to see the 360c resemble the Nucleus is because the small firm considers itself a company that "needs to play a role" in the future design of cars.
"We don’t want to just to execute another styling of the current hot trend," he said. "We want to create a new vision.”