Auto.am begins a series of interviews with car designers of Armenian descent.

We were very interested to find out whether our countrymen worked in large car companies. It turned out that some do, and rather successfully.

We picked car design as a subject, because it’s the most competitive sphere in the world, which makes the success achieved in car design by Armenians as well even more meaningful.

Our first interview is with Vagharsh Sahakyan, who works at Volskwagen and does interior design. 

One of the projects Vagharsh worked on is Volkswagen Phideon, recently presented at the Exhibition Center in Beijing. 

– Vagharsh, could you tell about yourself before we proceed to the main subject of our conversation? Where you were born, grew up and got education, how much of an Armenian you feel like, whether you’ve been to Armenia.

– I am 28 years old, I was born in Ural, Russia. My family moved to Yekaterinburg when I was 12. I went to an art college there and studied graphic design. I entered the second course of Strate College in France when I was 17, and I’ve been working at Volkswagen since 2009.

I frequently visit Armenia, the majority of my relatives live there.

– When did you realize you wanted to do art, painting? When did you decide you wanted to work in car design? 

– I painted as long as I can remember. At the age of 15 I was convinced that car design is my future. Two years later I went to university to do car design professionally.

– Why did you choose interior design? 

– We were taught to think globally about design, be that exterior, interior, interface, etc. It was one of the advantages of French school. I made the final decision when I was writing my graduation work at VW. I was in the interior design team and partook in the internal projects as well. I realized there how diverse the creation of interior is. The difficulty of the work was what attracted me.

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– If I’m not mistaken, PSA Centre Style Peugeot was the first car company you worked at. How did you get a job there?

– Yes, it was my first internship. It lasted four months, and the final results were presented to the company’s design team.

– What projects did you do for PSA Center?

– I worked at a personal project there, a new model of Peugeot that was designed for futuristic cities. The concept was a car as open as possible, with a flexible body.

– Design of many Peugeot and Citroen cars such as Citroën DS or Peugeot 406 Coupé is considered iconic in car design. Which models would you point out, especially from interior perspective?

– Generally speaking, examples of American car industry were visually the most interesting of all car interiors of the 60s and the 70s. However, many interiors became similar since the rules of safety and ergonomics came around. There are some differences at present, and many brands compete in a technological race. Interior design changes according to new technologies.

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– How did you transfer to VW?

– I was at the last course of the college in 2009. I applied for graduation internship at Volkswagen and received an invitation. I was offered a job in the same team after I finished the internship.

– You’ve worked at concepts of Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE and C Coupe GTE since 2011. What is your specific work in these projects?

– A little correction – the mentioned concepts were presented to the public in 2015, and their development was launched in 2014. Both concepts reflect the vision of potential VW models. Cross Blue GTE shows the “extreme” version of SUV, a format we presented in the concepts of Volkswagen Cross Blue and Volkswagen Cross Blue Coupe. C Coupe GTE in its turn was a teaser of a luxury model. We presented its standard model Phideon at the Exhibition Center in Beijing.