All Articles
All Articles


Range Rover's Design Director discusses their all-new, sustainable, city-focused car

by Josh Rubin
on 01 October 2010
Range Rover Evoque Coupe

Yesterday in Paris Range Rover launched the Evoque, a sporty, stylish and more sustainable SUV. Gerry McGovern, Design Director for the brand, used the word "relevant" to describe the primary design goal for the vehicle. The notion of creating a car for today's tech-savvy and earth-conscious city-dweller originally transpired as the LRX concept vehicle, first shown in 2008. It was so well received that little changed in translating the LRX to the Evoque.

Range Rover Evoque Interior Range Rover Evoque Backside

When Range Rover invited me to their big debut, I gladly accepted to see the new creation first hand. The Evoque maintains the standard of luxury that Range Rovers are known for, using the same premium materials seen in their top-of-the-line vehicles. And while the design language is unmistakably Range Rover, the form is decidedly smaller and more aggressive. By using lighter materials, offering a front-wheel drive option paired with a turbo diesel engine, the most efficient configuration offers a shocking 58 mile per gallon estimated fuel rating.

Range Rover Evoque 5-door

The Paris debut only included the coupe, but the company did announce that a 5-door will be offered as well (pictured above). There will be a variety of configurations available including front or four-wheel drive, turbo-diesel or gas engines, a full sized and unobstructed glass roof, and three different trims that range from simple to aggressive. Tech options include support for Bluetooth streaming audio, a surround camera system and an eight inch dual-view nav screen that lets the passenger and driver see different information or content.

Gerry McGovern, Range Rover Design Director

Gerry McGovern Range Rover Design Director

Such a bold move from a car company known for making big vehicles is not a surprise given today's consumer demands. The fact that they executed this challenge so well is a tribute to their design team. To learn more about this I sat down with Gerry McGovern, Range Rover's Design Director who uniquely oversees both product design and marketing for the brand. The interview, which starts below and continues after the jump touches on changes in design culture, the notion of relevance and Miesian philosophies.

Cool Hunting

Tell me a little bit about your background, both in terms of design work and specifically Range Rover.

Gerry McGovern

Let me start from the very beginning. I've always been in the design business. I probably describe myself more as a design nut than a car nut. And what I mean by that is like collectors tend to collect old cars and stuff, I tend to collect pieces of modernist furniture and art, and glass. I was most interested in architecture, not in car design. I just designed a house in Britain with a British architect.

Part of my job is really to understand what this sort of luxury business is all about, luxury experience and that sort of thing that I'm interested in. I did train as a product designer. I've held various positions. I've done quite a lot of cars in my time. I was at Land Rover before then I went off to America and was the Design Director at Lincoln Mercury in the states for a number of years, based in California.


You've been back at Land Rover for about 5 years now. How are you doing things differently?


So one of the things I started doing was saying well, Land Rover has been around for 60 years essentially now, Range Rover for 40. We sell now in 167 different countries and we've got this design philosophy that's developed over all those years. A lot of that design philosophy is rooted in heritage and function in particular. We have call the design bible and while I accept it and acknowledge and respect where we've come from, my view on it was we have to be absolutely focused on the future. So I need to recognize that, respect it, and discover where we are and define where we want to go. The driver for me for defining where we wanted to go was just one word—relevance.

What is gonna make us relevant in a world that's changing, particularly in respect to sustainability, the center of people's values. For example, the luxury business, luxury customers, they're not buying the brand trophies anymore. They want to believe in brands that have integrity, that have longevity, that stand for something either ethically or emotionally.

I take on this sort of Chief Creative Officer role for the brand as well, and what that means is looking at the tonality toward touch points of dealerships, showrooms, advertising, brochures. And that area of the business has always been within marketing, but I've been called upon to look at it in terms of giving support and guidance to make sure we get the continuity of brand message in visual terms. Because if accept the notion that design is conduit, it communicates what the brand stands for, then clearly it needs to be a consistent point of view.


What does this mean in terms of designing cars?


The LRX was a manifestation of a different point of view for Range Rover particularly, because at that time we called it a Land Rover, but as we developed it became clear it needed to be a Range Rover particularly because of its emphasis on cleanliness.

Evoque the first of a new generation of Range Rovers—it's the third car line for Range Rover. It's clear where we want to take the brand in terms of the emphasis on luxury. There's still a level of integrity and capability. If we never talked capability ever again, quite frankly we'd still be renowned for it; people know we can do it and it'll always be there. But we've got to represent other values as well.

Now we're also in the process of redefining what Land Rover stands for as a brand because we do have this slight dilemma in that the business started as Land Rover, that's the brand; and then Range Rover is a nameplate within it. Of course, Range Rover has become equal in terms of equity, a problem also in certain markets. So there is this sort of dilemma... do we have one brand, two brands, actually we are at least two brands in most people's perceptions.


One of the key words that you used was relevance. Was that part of the design philosophy that drove the LRX concept, or was that something that was more critical during the process of taking the LRX concept and turning it in to the Evoque?


Relevance was right there at the start, and that was the word I brought to the business in some respects. It was easy for me because I was coming from outside and I'd been there before. I said actually, you're talking about the same feature you were talking about when I left 10 years ago. And actually what you need to do is say what is going to be relevant to people. So then the relevance came through clearly in terms of the focus on sustainability, it's size, the smallest, lightest Range Rover ever.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity
Loading More...