Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, will have a new landmark and experience-based meeting place when World of Volvo opens in April next year. The magnificent view is a bonus.
Meetings between people are at the centre of the new venture that Volvo Group and Volvo Cars are building in central Gothenburg. They have jointly recognised the Volvo brand, which has long been part of Swedish history. Still, it is also a brand with great international appeal, not least in terms of the electrified and autonomous cars of the future.
The facility, made entirely of wood, will be an experience centre where visitors can experience Volvo’s history, vehicles, design and various cultural events based on different themes. It expands Gothenburg’s well-established event area with another central meeting place to organise meetings and events for up to 1,100 people. The 22,500 square metre, five-storey building has meeting rooms for hire in various sizes and for different purposes, a lounge, and Streams: a broadcasting studio where digital events such as live broadcasts or panel discussions can be arranged. The event hall, divided into two by a skyfold, is constructed to accommodate fairly large congresses, conferences and meetings for up to 1,100 standing or 600 seated guests. There are mingling areas adjacent to the large event area.
World of Volvo is designed by the Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen around the idea of the Swedish concept of ‘Allemansrätten,’ which denotes the fundamental right that all citizens have to nature. That is the right to roam freely on any land, public or private, while showing respect both for nature and our fellow human beings. This fundamental principle has not only become a right but is central to the Swedish core values and something that lives on in citizens, companies and organisations, including Volvo.
The World of Volvo will have a Scandinavian design inspired by the cliffs of the Bohuslän landscape and various natural materials. The circular shape of the building is intended to embrace care for nature and care for people. The building is also designed to encourage visitors to create both indoor and outdoor experiences, whether they have tickets to the exhibitions inside the building or not. One of the basic ideas of Gothenburg’s new meeting place is that it should be perceived as public and inviting.
The vast landscape surrounding the World of Volvo brings Swedish nature to the centre of Gothenburg, covering the area with flowers and native plants blooming between rocky outcrops and winding paths. And just like the landscapes around Sweden, visitors are encouraged to help themselves to the landscape in any way they like, bearing in mind the principle of the right of public access: to leave no trace.
Three large ‘trees’ grow from the mountain, their trunks large enough to accommodate small exhibition spaces, vertical circulation, displays and service functions. The open space between the trees is left largely empty, except for sculptural stairs connecting the levels, and exhibits dotting the floor. The interior merges with the outdoor environment, with floor-to-ceiling glass facades creating a seamless transition to the vast nature outside.
The World of Volvo will be open every day of the week with free admission. Visitors will have to pay for visiting the exhibitions, restaurants or special events and activities, but the building and the park will be open for all. The goal is to attract people to come there so that it becomes a dynamic environment over time, with both permanent parts and ever-changing elements.
But it will not be content alone that attracts meetings and events to the World of Volvo. The wooden structure and facility itself will undoubtedly attract attention from many different professional groups working in areas such as architecture, design and the wood and construction industry. We envision local, regional, national and eventually international companies and organisations travelling to Gothenburg to gather in a remarkable meeting place with global appeal.