Currently reading: Skoda appoints Nio designer to shape new minimalist interiors
Next-generation Skoda cabins will be shaped by Chan Park, who previously worked on Audi Q4 E-tron and Nio ET9

Ex-Nio interior designer Chan Park has joined Skoda to shape the cabins for the Czech brand's next generation of EVs.

A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, Park spent time at Pininfarina, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Audi before joining Nio in 2021.

In his capacity as the Chinese EV brand's chief interior designer, Park was most recently responsible for designing the characteristically minimalist and tech-centric cockpit for the new ET9 flagship SUV. 

Headline features of the new crossover's interior include a luxurious four-seat arrangement modelled on private jets, a modular central workspace in the rear, a distinctive vertically split glass roof and a dashboard that eschews physical controls for a predominantly touch- and voice-operated control interface, as is custom in Nio cars.

Prior to joining Nio, Park had a hand in the cockpit of the Audi Q4 E-tron, which similarly majors on digital functionality and is predominantly controlled using a touchscreen.

That minimalist approach is markedly different to that which has come to be expected of Skoda, which has historically touted the benefits of physical switches and buttons, in line with a dual focus on ease of use and comfort. 

As testament to this emphasis on analogue utility, Skoda has equipped its new Superb and Kodiaq flagship models with a row of 'Smart Dials' for adjusting the climate control, audio and other core functions, mimicking traditional rotary devices but with inbuilt screens for a more modern look.

Park's track record with more overtly premium and tech-centric car brands would seem at odds with this approach, but Skoda design boss Oliver Stefani said he is "excited to see him implement his less-is-more design philosophy, perfectly aligning aesthetics and functionality in our vehicles".

Park replaces Peter Olah, who was appointed head of interior design in late 2020 and will now move into a new role leading Skoda's One Design Identity strategy. 

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"[Olah] will be in charge of defining and overseeing a holistic 360deg Design strategy including philosophy, style and future trend research," Skoda said. 

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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PatrickTausz 11 June 2024

We do not need minimalist interiors for God Sake. This Skoda is minimalist enough. Car manufacturers just try push this down on the throat of buyers simply because it is cheaper and easier for them to manufacture. And then in the name of minimalism they create ugly and unusable interiors   

Nickktod 11 June 2024
I thought the VW Group had learned their lesson about removing buttons and trying to control everything via touchscreens. Apparently not. Brave…