Gothenburg, Sweden
2019 - 2024

World of Volvo

An ambitious design undertaken through an uncompromising process, World of Volvo embodies an inspired relationship to nature through the Swedish concept of ‘Allemansrätten.’ This while showcasing an exciting and necessary change in our industry — the openness towards timber in large-scale construction.

Project details

Client

World of Volvo (Volvo Cars AB and Volvo Group)

Typology

Culture

Status

The design of World of Volvo, a 20,500 m2 experience center in Gothenburg, integrates computational parametric design and timber as the main structural element to provide the backdrop for thriving native landscapes and a warm invitation to experience ‘the right to roam.’  

“Not long ago, working with timber on this scale was hard to imagine. Our industry is really on a path of change. It's just amazing that we could make this happen, from initial sketches that were all free form and had to be rationalized to now seeing it unfold in construction.” - Fabia Baumann, Structural Design Engineer

Applying a tailored digital workflow that integrates the structural logic of the wooden elements, World of Volvo pushes the boundaries of large-scale timber construction.

KVANT-1, 2022
Rasmus Hjortshøj, 2022
The design process of World of Volvo was informed by the structural logic of the wood beam elements. Accounting for their manufacturing process allowed for an optimized design respectful of the material’s structural capacities. Rasmus Hjortshøj, 2022

"Our goal was to give form to something very essential to the Swedish spirit. World of Volvo’s circular form, the timber materiality, its integration with the landscape, and, fundamentally, its openness – these things are all parts of a core collective identity."

Martin Stenberg Ringnér

Associate Design Director, Henning Larsen

World of Volvo aims to unite the brands of Volvo Group and Volvo Cars to share the history, tradition, and future of the famed Swedish brand in a single structure. KVANT-1, 2022

A right to nature

World of Volvo is designed around the Swedish concept of ‘Allemansrätten’, denoting a fundamental right to experience the outdoors and roam freely on any land (public or private) while showing consideration for nature and for others. This tenet is not just a right, but a central part of the Swedish ethos and one that lives in people, businesses, and organizations – Volvo included.

The main structure, made of glulam and cross-laminated timber, forms three striking tree-trunk-like columns arranged in a mathematical pattern. Fanning out to carry the entire load of the roof, these envelope visitors in a welcoming forest-like canopy.

The expansive round structure encourages visitors to create their own journeys both indoors and outdoors, regardless of whether they hold tickets to the exhibitions inside. Surrounded by a thriving landscape that extends onto an accessible roof, the building embraces the regional landscape, in form, materiality, and culture, bringing a native piece of Swedish nature to the middle of Gothenburg.

Henning Larsen, 2022
Rasmus Hjortshøj, 2023

A new way to experience Volvo

Situated in the heart of Gothenburg’s event district, ample, versatile spaces are set to host cultural events, talks, and conferences, accommodating up to 1,100 attendees. 

Under the title, “A meeting place for a better future”, the 4,500m2 exhibition space offers a comprehensive journey through Volvo's history, present innovations, and future visions, highlighted by iconic vehicles, immersive stories, and interactive displays, all centered around Volvo's human-centric and forward-looking ethos.

The experience center opens its doors on April 14, 2024; the Swedish brand’s 97th birthday.

Rasmus Hjortshøj, 2024

“As a brand Volvo is rooted in a Swedish pride for producing and manufacturing quality for everyone. This is spotlighted and celebrated at World of Volvo.”

Martin Stenberg Ringnér

Associate Design Director, Henning Larsen

World of Volvo houses dynamic exhibition spaces inviting visitors to delve into the remarkable evolution of Volvo, from timeless classics to the cutting-edge innovations of today. Rasmus Hjortshøj, 2024

Traditional and forward-facing

The use of timber in World of Volvo embodies a return to a most traditional of building materials in the Scandinavian context but does so through decidedly modern methods and approaches.

A flexible computational workflow integrated from the very early phases made it possible to experiment with the height of the building, the geometry of the roof, the radius of the three inner circles, and the number of columns, while evaluating the structural implications of these choices together with the manufacturer.

This advanced digital collaboration resulted in decisions that are informed by the material itself, allowing us to optimize material use without compromising on the concept.

World of Volvo is currently under construction and is expected to open its doors in 2024.

Downloads

Plant a seed - Designing with wood and bio-based materials

Publication

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Contact

All contacts
Portrait of Martin Stenberg

Associate Design Director

mstr@henninglarsen.com
Portrait of Søren Øllgaard

Design Director Europe, Partner

sop@henninglarsen.com
Portrait of Sonja Stockmarr

Global Design Director, Landscape

sst@henninglarsen.com
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