Steffen Köhl, the Director of Advanced Exterior Design, is the man who shapes up the future Mercedes-Benz models. He mostly works at the design studios in China, United States of America and Germany, but there are times when he boards a plane to go to work.
Steffen Köhl has offices on three continents. Beijing in China, Carlsbad of USA and Sindelfingen in Germany are the work places for him. He must occasionally reach Sunnyvale in California and Como, Italy, to check out the company’s project. He and his teams create automotive design for future portofolio ideas and showcars, but also for Mercedes-Benz standard-production vehicles.
He is also the one coordinating the recruitment from foreign design studios and universities. Köhl is also responsible with detecting the international trends in technology and design and implementing them in the company’s models or concepts or even anticipating them.
But how does a typical work day look like for him? He tells of it himself:
“My/the (Classic Design) working day is made up mainly of managing the design processes for various vehicle projects. This is done in meetings on 2D designs, so-called renderings, with the designers, as well as on 1:4 and 1:1-scale clay models with our model designers”, he explains for the Mercedes-Benz.com website. He also mentions video conferencing, projects discussions, several project meetings as well.
He admits his finds enthusiasm and motivation in his love of drawing and designing.
The rare spare time that he gets is occupied with family, friends, sports, with reading and even writing short stories. Some of them are inspired by the in-house competition for ideas at Mercedes-Benz Design.
If he had to choose a single special ability, he would go for flying.
Steffen Köhl has been leading the Advanced Design Center of Mercedes-Benz since 2008, following a similar position in the Exterior Design, Production Vehicles department. His career started in 1988, when he became an automotive designer for exterior and interior for passenger cars.