Polestar launches global contest for emerging designers

Polestar is calling out for new talents to get designing in the time of Covid-19

Polestar Design Contest
(Image credit: TBC)

The new Polestar Design Contest is an outlet for creativity with a difference. Although the brief is conventional – explore the next two decades of Polestar-inspired design using the theme ‘pure’ – the EV start-up is going one step further and committing to creating models of the winning entries. Pitched at both students and professional designers, the contest is overseen by Polestar Head of Design Maximilian Missoni.

Missoni has spent eight years at Volvo, where he is currently head of exterior design in addition to his role at Polestar. ‘We are establishing ourselves as a very design-led and design-focused brand,’ he explains. ‘[Polestar CEO] Thomas Ingenlath has an umbrella-like overview of all the different disciplines in design and this contest is about going a step further and developing our design community.’ There is a growing army of young designers who have learnt by focusing their burgeoning skills on re-shaping existing brands. The internet has this emerging genre free rein, allowing anyone with access to 3D modelling software a shot at creating their own interpretation of someone else’s IP with the hope of garnering some interest in their skills.

This approach has much in common with the way design education has operated for decades, but Missoni is at pains to point out that their contest is not affiliated to any particular design school and is open to professionals and students at all levels of experience. ‘Our Precept concept gave the brand a new focus,’ he says, ‘but it’s also beautiful to see young designers pick these things up and spin them into new products or even architecture.’

Polestar Head of Design Maximilian Missoni

(Image credit: TBC)

Polestar design detail sketch

Top, Polestar Head of Design Maximilian Missoni. Bottom, design detail sketch

(Image credit: TBC)

The company’s ‘Design Community’ Instagram (@polestardesigncommunity) has already started hosting radical future ideas for Polestar products, from trucks to motorbikes. As Missoni says, ‘although we are set on what we want to do in the future, it is interesting to see how other people interpret our values.’ The model-making element will take the ideas a step further.

The competition is about challenging designers to solve problems

By first working up digital models and then committing the winning entries to 1/3 scale models that can be exhibited, Polestar is helping the designers take a major step forwards. ‘In the world of high-end digital tools you often see non-official concepts that make you look twice – the boundaries are blurring,’ Missoni says, ‘but of course the big challenge is in translating these ideas into an actual product. These designs are very much in the beginning of the process.’

Missoni will be involved in judging alongside Juan Pablo Bernal, Polestar’s senior interior design manager, taking the entrants through several stages culminating in an exhibition that will help shape Polestar’s relationship with the future. ‘We’re not getting anything out of it, but it’s totally for them. My dream is that it crosses the boundaries between art and design,’ says Missoni, ‘the more abstract the products, the happier we are.’

Polestar Precept

Polestar Precept

(Image credit: TBC)



Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.