The Collection featuring Franz von Holzhausen
This year, we set out to re-launch our Men’s Collection with durability in mind. The collection is built from our technology–driven by Technik-Leather, a 100% animal free and sustainable performance material made from recycled plastic and lined with a high-tech ripstop that’s made from the strongest fibers on the planet. The natural performance attributes of Technik-Leather such as the resistance to water, scratches and stains lends itself perfectly to a collection that’s focused on functionality and durability and of course, designed to last the test of time.
We’d love to introduce you to Franz von Holzhausen, VP of Design at Tesla but also Vicki’s husband who has been testing the collection from the prototype phase through to the first production run. Our goal was to make sure that each piece met the needs of an active lifestyle–from work to play, even during this last year when everything got turned upside down.
Today, we’re putting the spotlight on Franz to share his thoughts about material innovation, The Collection and sustainability.
vH: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Franz, I have been designing cars my entire career. I have been married to Vicki 12 years, blessed with 2 beautiful boys, and have watched and supported her vision for von Holzhausen since she created it.
vH: You and Vicki are both designers. What are the ways that you both think about designs that are similar, and different?
There is no recipe or prescription for creativity. While Vicki and I do have similar taste in many things, we also have our own unique taste and ideas that we love to disagree about.
vH: What is your design philosophy?
Good design is simple, solves problems, is beautiful, and makes our world better.
vH: What is your philosophy when it comes to living sustainably?
My job is to design products that are inherently sustainable, that reduce our demand on finite materials, and make a cleaner future for our planet. It is our responsibility to preserve and ensure a clean environment and a sustainable future.
vH: Tell us about what you think the role of sustainability is in the future when it comes to products across industries.
Ultimately sustainably produced products will be the norm. We cannot continue to harm the environment as carelessly as we do now or have in the past. We are already feeling the effects of that neglect.
vH: Tell us about your favorite products from von Holzhausen. What is the product you use the most and how long have you been using it?
My favorite von Holzhausen piece is The Backpack. I use it nearly every day, and it goes wherever I go. I’ve been wearing mine for about 2 years, and it still looks new. It is clean, modern and simple, and fits everything I need.
vH: What essentials do you always have in your Backpack?
You can generally find my computer, a hoodie or jacket, shades, and cables to charge everything in my backpack. Maybe a protein bar...
vH: If you could design a product for von Holzhausen, what would it be?
Don’t need to, I already use it every day - my Backpack!
vH: What does material innovation mean to you?
Looking to new ways to solve challenging problems. The leather industry is a dirty and unsustainable world that needs to change. You don’t have to give up the characteristics of what people like about leather, there are solutions that are actually better in every way than leather, and von Holzhausen is innovating in this space.
vH: How are you a material innovator in your industry?
We were the first major auto manufacturer to eliminate leather from all of our cars. Not to mention the obvious...
vH: What is an industry that needs to adopt a new approach when it comes to material innovation? How do you see this coming to life?
Every industry needs to innovate in a more sustainable way to stay relevant. If we don’t the world as we know it will no longer exist.
As the Head of Design at Tesla, Franz von Holzhausen is responsible for driving the overall design direction of Tesla and establishing a world-class design competency for all future Tesla products. He’s known for all Tesla’s designs from Model S through to Cybertruck. You can follow along his latest tweets here.