STEFAN LAMM: KEY ARCHITECT OF FORD’S KINETIC DESIGN PHILOSOPHY WANTS TO PLAY MATCHMAKER
director, Exterior Design,
Ford of Europe
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- Stefan Lamm is director, Exterior Design, Ford of Europe
- He is a key architect of the kinetic design language that has infused Ford’s European products and is now extending its reach around the world with the new Ford Fiesta and the next-generation Ford Focus
- Lamm calls the new Focus – with its unique proportions and racy silhouette – the sportiest car in the segment
Stefan Lamm has designs for you. He wants you to fall in love.
Lamm is exterior design chief for the next-generation Ford Focus. His vision for its kinetic design-infused shape will soon be on streets and highways around the world. The next-generation Focus is the first vehicle in a wave of global products coming from the ONE Ford strategy.
“When it comes to a new design,” Lamm says, “people have to fall in love.”
His job is to help them along with compelling designs that make the vehicle appear as if it is in motion, even when standing still – designs that telegraph the driving experience and make Ford products more appealing than ever.
Lamm believes the world is ready to fall in love with the next-generation Focus’ sleek silhouette, complexly sculpted surfaces, innovative face and bold graphics.
“This is the sportiest five-door in the segment, no doubt,” says Lamm, “and that’s not easy because everybody’s trying to be dynamic.”
Lamm said a key difference with the next-generation Focus is found in its unique proportions.
“The proportions of this car really make it stand out,” he explained. “If you study the cabin-to-body relationship, you see how we achieved this sleek, sporty silhouette. The cabin is lower and the A-pillar is positioned far forward. Yet there have been no sacrifices to interior roominess.”
Lamm was a key recruit of Executive Design Director Martin Smith when he took leadership of Ford of Europe’s design portfolio. From 1994 to 2005, Lamm worked for General Motors Europe design team on Opel products and concepts. Smith brought Lamm with him to Ford to craft kinetic design.
“I came over with the task of challenging the brand and changing the brand’s design language,” Lamm says. “I felt honored to do that job.”
Lamm believes his ability for visionary thinking and his talents for translating ideas into three-dimensional form were key traits attractive to Smith and the Ford team.
“Bringing controlled sculpture into exterior design was my dream, and the time was right to join Ford.”
The man behind the exterior designs of the recent Ford Kuga and global Ford Fiesta remembers a love for sketching and a love of cars that began in childhood. He particularly remembers the exotic Italian sports cars – the Ferrari Testarossa and the Lamborghini Countach – as dream cars when he was a boy growing up in Dortmund, Germany.
“My father never could afford to buy a new car, so I was always watching what cars our neighbors and friends had and sketching them,” Lamm said. “I was always sketching and by the time I was 15 or 16, I started dreaming about being a car designer.”
He pursued his passion and attended the Art Center Europe design college in Pforzheim, Switzerland for formal training.
He predicts the next-generation Focus design has the potential impact globally that the first Focus had in Europe when it was introduced in 1998.
“I wasn’t working for the company then, but I could certainly see the impact Focus had.”
Lamm points to the new front end, with its bold three-piece lower trapezoid grille shape, as one of the design’s thought-provoking features and advancement in the kinetic design language. He’s especially proud of it, not only in pure design terms, but also for the functionality it incorporates – he credits a strong working relationship with designers and engineers for its underlying structure’s ability to meet global standards ranging from European pedestrian protection legislation to tough U.S. crash safety requirements.
Lamm says he leads a quiet family life as opposed to the flashy reputation of some designers. He lives in Cologne with his wife and their 9-month-old daughter.
One of his joys is cooking in the couple’s newly installed designer kitchen. Risotto is one of his favorite dishes to prepare.
Lamm enjoys running as his main fitness regimen but admits he is not able to run as regularly as he’d like.
“When I get home and my daughter smiles at me and wants me to play with her, thoughts of going out for a run disappear,” he says.
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- In Lamm’s garage are a current Ford Kuga and a Ford Fiesta, which were the first cars he was responsible for designing at Ford
- Lamm’s all-time favorite Ford is the Ford GT. He’d like an Aston Martin DB9
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
Jan. 11, 2010