Amko Leenarts has been a designer at Ford since 2012. Prior to that, he led Interior Design for the Peugeot brand in France. Now Head of Design for Ford of Europe, Leenarts has had a wealth of experience on two continents, speaking different languages and leading teams that create vehicles for different segments in different markets.
In this FORMCAST podcast Amko spoke with me about his time as an architect, pursuing his dream of designing cars and the difficult early days, and how he eventually set down his chosen path at age 27. We also spoke about how he proposed new solutions in interior design while at Peugeot, joined Ford to lead strategic and interior design globally, and the transition to becoming “king of the country” with respect to his current role leading Ford’s Design teams in Europe.
This is the longest FORMCAST podcast to date and essential listening for anyone that wants to know what it takes to succeed as a car designer and attain a leadership position within design. I had a great time speaking with Amko and appreciate his insights.
00:00 – Intro 02:00 – Background 09:00 – Architecture 11:00 – Chasing the Dream 20:00 – First Job at PSA 22:00 – Moving up at Peugeot 27:00 – Interior Design Management 31:00 – Being a Chameleon 34:00 – Peugeot i-Cockpit 40:00 – Opportunity at Ford 50:00 – Cultural Impact 55:00 – Design Processes 01:03:00 – The Ford GT 01:09:00 – Design Freedom 01:16:00 – The Designer’s Role 01:20:00 – The Global Stage 01:24:00 – Designing for Markets 01:30:00 – Design Methodology 01:35:00 – Experience Design and Collaboration 01:24:00 – Digital Toolsets 01:43:00 – King of the Country 01:49:00 – Exterior vs Interior Design 01:54:00 – Future Challenges 01:59:00 – Responsibility of the Designer 02:05:00 – Artificial Intelligence 02:12:00 – Technology in Cars 02:17:00 – Personal Life and Cars 02:24:00 – Advice to Designers
We hope you enjoy listening to this genuine and informative conversation with Amko Leenarts. As always, you can find the FORMCAST podcast on all the major streaming services below and many more. And if you’d like to help support the podcast please either subscribe to Form Trends (there are many perks to doing so) or donate to our Patreon account using the link below. Thank you for your support!
Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.