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Thonet shift knobs for Volvo C70 – Click above for high-res image gallery

We'll be honest – when we heard that a European contemporary furniture designer would be creating something specifically for Volvo, our first thought was, well, IKEA. (Very funny, we know.) However, the folks at Thonet (based in Germany, not Sweden) have created special wooden gearshift knobs specifically for the 2011 C70, in partnership with Volvo tuner Heico Sportiv.

The shift knobs, made out of oak, beech or walnut, are said to reflect the design language of Volvo's floating center console. Thonet has a long history of creating wood furniture designs, so it was a natural fit for Volvo to select them to create this special gearshift specifically for the Heico Sportiv C70. Hit the jump to read more in Thonet's press release.

[Source: Thonet]
Show full PR text
Thonet does Automotive Design: The first gear shift lever by Thonet will have its worldwide presentation at the Geneva International Motor Show in cooperation with HEICO SPORTIV and VOLVO

At the Geneva International Motor Show (4-14 March 2010) the Thonet gear shift lever will, for the first time, be presented to a worldwide audience. The launch will take place in the exclusive 'Volvo S60 Lounge' which has been completely fitted out by Thonet. Roland Ohnacker, CEO of the well-established Hesse-based company, is convinced that: "With intelligent cooperation projects companies will be better able to access new markets and target groups – especially in difficult economic times."

The new wooden Thonet gear shift lever

The gear shift lever to be presented in Geneva represents a combination of tradition and modernity in a product that has been developed jointly by Thonet and HEICO. The lever harks back to Thonet's longstanding tradition of wood manufacturing: it has been developed, , for the new Volvo C70, whose interior fittings have been refined by HEICO SPORTIV.
The curved shape of the lever conveys lightness and reflects the design language of the floating centre console. It is crafted from the finest oak, beech or walnut wood and available as a limited edition that is hand made in an elaborate multi-stage process. Due to their longstanding experience in woodworking, Thonet was the perfect partner for implementing this ambitious project.

The Thonet Lounge at the Geneva Motor Show

The Thonet Lounge, especially designed for the Geneva Motor Show, will form the exclusive backdrop for the world premiere of the Volvo C70 by HEICO SPORTIV and the new Volvo S60. The lounge will be located at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Geneva where, in addition to the Motor Show, both cars will be presented to the eager public and to professional visitors. Thonet will exclusively fit out the lounge, which will underline the overall quality of the presentation. Fittings will include the successful sofas from the S 5000 product family (designed by James Irvine) and the S 123 barstools (also by James Irvine).

New cooperation projects provide access to new markets and target groups

Since last year, Thonet have intensified their cooperation with other enterprises and exhibition organizers, in order to gain access to new consumer groups and markets. Thonet has already created its own lounges at the Frankfurt IAA, the Berlin Bautec and the Frankfurt Ambiente. Thanks to their cooperation with Japanese retailer Muji, Thonet has penetrated the young consumer market for furniture classics: more-affordable versions of successful classics from the Thonet collection are now available in Muji stores. Thonet CEO Roland Ohnacker commented: "Our collaborative projects from the last 12 months alone have shown the potential of the brand, and have proven how many doors can be opened when you present excellent collaboration ideas for both trade fair exhibitions or product development. Based on our experience at the Frankfurt IAA, we expect our participation at the Geneva Motor Show to result in new contacts to exciting new consumer groups."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh great, further idolizing of the unnecessary phallus found between the front seats in modern cars... bah.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The phallus between the seats of a Volvo is the handbrake, not the gearshift: http://a1.vox.com/6a00c225285da5604a00d09e71bb01be2b-500pi
        • 5 Years Ago
        If that's what your phallus looks like, then I feel bad for you man!

        Personally, this looks more like an upside down guitar to me, or just generally high class designer furniture..but to each his own.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bleh, I can see why the photos show it fitted to an automatic, rather than a manual. It'd be a terrible piece of form over function if fitted to something you were actually going to *use.*

        It'd be well worth Volvo's while to make the manual transmission itself halfway decent. The S40/V50/C30/C70 family has been let down by its six-speed's plasticky, bungee-cord shift action for more than five years now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So will I be able to pick one of these up at IKEA? I can't wait for the wooden coilovers from Heico!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought it looked like fancy headphone holders/display things when I first saw the pics.

      I think thats the worst ideal ever for a gear shifter. Even if you like the way it looks, it doesn't look functional at all. Looks like a two handed shift would be required. Talk about not matching anything else in the car. Maybe Volvo should have MOMO design a package instead of an artist who probably drives a Beetle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      well thats an awkward gear shifter, it seems like they were thinking way too outside of the box, i kept trying to imagine the possible ways to shift gears with that thing, and for the life of me i cant see how anyone could(comfortably, of course). @Generic, i thought it was a two sided barstool before reading :S
      • 5 Years Ago
      Joy... they managed to invent a whole new location to collect dust and need to be cleaned out....
      • 5 Years Ago
      IMO, it looks more "vaginal" than phallic. Wonder if comes with a box of pads for those few days every month?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Transmission fluid leakage huh?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it's the wood that makes it stick out (no puns intended) from the rest of the car. You have the silver of the dash, the cream of the leather, and the black plastic (?), and then you have a piece of brown randomly sitting in the middle of it all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      that is the sexiest shift knob i have ever seen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      putting everyones 'hard to use phallus' issues aside; I don't like it but I like what they did with the rest of the car. The quad pipes, wheels, and lower stance really brings this cars design to life. And that blue color is very very nice.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, Heico makes some snappy looking stuff.

        Too bad it's INSANELY expensive. Their exhaust systems and wheels cost easily double what the other aftermarket Volvo guys are charging (but damn are their Volution wheels sexy).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gee, whatever happened to going down to your local beer distributor and getting a tap handle of your favorite brew and adapting it as your shift handle???
      • 5 Years Ago
      Obviously the designer has never used one of those.
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