There’s a close correlation between Sweden’s rugged landscape and extremes of light and dark and the refined quality of Swedish design. The country’s architecture, products, furniture, fashion and industrial design share a common thread, that of an understated synergy between object and landscape, function and beauty, melancholy and delight.

The sensibility that emerges remains strong, characterful and undeniably modern. Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s new head of design, came to Sweden from Germany. His immersion in its culture has been absolute, as is his respect for its design history. Ingenlath understands Volvo’s heritage, a company that has been an integral part of the national character since it was founded in 1927, thanks to enduring designs such as the Amazon, XC90 and the classic P1800, shown here.

Volvo is entering a new era, bolstered by a radical new technological approach that gives Ingenlath and his team unprecedented design freedom. A trio of concept cars, starting with the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupé, showcases key elements of the new generation. The Concept Coupé is the first waypoint on a journey, one that embraces emotion, heritage and innovation on the road to a new design language for this most Swedish of brands. Volvo’s road to great design embraces past and future.