"I try not to follow trends. It is best to be a trendsetter yourself...Good design will last well and still be seen as fresh years later."
- Quoted in Volvoclub
Profile - Steve Mattin
Current news: Steve has just left Volvo - we look forward to hearing about his next career move!
Steve Mattin was born and grew up in the village of Wootton near Bedford. He was always passionate about car design and as a child spent much of his free time sketching cars. In an interview published by carpages.co.uk on 21st May 2005, he described his sense of anticipation regarding being taken to motor shows: “It was the highlight of the year. From the age of eight onwards, I thought about nothing but cars”.
In 1979, when he was just fifteen years old, he teamed up with a friend to enter the BP Style-It design competition. The pair won the competition, spurring Mattin on to take on a four year degree course in industrial design, specialising in car design, at Coventry University. He was backed by Mercedes through his degree, six months of which involved work experience with the company. Although Steve originally planned to study for an MA at the Royal College of Art following his degree at Coventry, he instead accepted a job offer from Mercedes which started him on his illustrious career in the automotive industry.
His first job at Mercedes was as a Designer for DaimlerChrysler from 1987 until 1990 when he was promoted to the job of Senior Designer. He was promoted again in 1993 to become the Design Manager, a position which he held until 2000, at which point he became the Senior Design Manager until 2003. From 2003-2005 he worked as Senior Design Manager on interior and exterior design of the S-Class, M-Class, R-Class, SL, SLK, SLR and Maybach Mercedes.
Steve is credited with having given a large number of Mercedes a new lease of life and in particular was responsible for the hugely successful exterior redesign of the new S-Class. He had overall design responsibility for the new M-Class; the Grand Sports Tourer concept car and its subsequent production version; and the R-Class.
In May 2005 he was appointed to the position of Design Director at Volvo Car Corporation and his induction into this new role involved a three week sabbatical touring New Zealand in a Volvo XC90 SUV to give him a solid introduction to the new product and brand he would be working with.
At Volvo he stepped into the shoes of Peter Horbury, another esteemed British designer who is credited with having dramatically revamped the Volvo image. According to The Times (6th January 2006), Mattin wants to “maintain the design ethos of Horbury, but make it more sexy”. Thus far his work has been extremely well-received. In an article in The Sunday Times (9th March 2008), his new design of the Volvo XC60 is given a very favourable review and is described as “Arguably the best-looking Volvo of all time”. The Irish Times loved the XC60 too, describing it as “one of the surprise stars of the (Geneva Motor) show” (5th March 2008).
1986: Finalist in the PRI Plastics on the Road competition
1987: Winner of the Royal Society of Arts Design Bursary competition
1997: Named "Designer of the Year" by Autocar magazine
2004: Ranked 43rd in the 2004 Autocar Top 100 Most Influential Brits in the Automotive Industry