An Interview with Henrik Fisker, the Designer’s Designer

Welcome to our [LIFE]Style Makers series, where we meet with those making big impressions on the everyday life of the brands we love.

We recently sat down with Henrik Fisker. This modern day renaissance man designed many of the cars that adorn posters and dreams worldwide. Not content with having an amazing design career, he went on to found several companies, design a yatch, and a motorcycle, and furniture, and…well you get the idea. He is currently launching two (!) companies – VLF and Fisker Automotive – along with two new cars (one car for each company, ‘natch…), so we just had to meet Henrik Fisker to figure out what makes him tick.

Interview has been edited for clarity and brevity:

[question] First of all, thank you for sitting down with FactoryTwoFour. I loved the Fisker Karma and it was the second car I reviewed as a new automotive journalist. You’ve done so much over your career and have been involved in so many interesting projects. When you were 25 years old, what did you imagine you would be doing with your life right now? [/question]

[answer]Honestly *haha* I expected I’d be owning my own car company quite frankly, living in LA! What hasn’t happened is owning my private island and racetrack! [/answer]

[question] There’s still time… Viewed from outside, you’ve had the Midas touch with your designs. Many if not all of your designs, the BMW Z8, Aston Martin Vantage, the Karma, have stood the test of time and gathered universal praise. What unifies all your designs? What are you trying to say with each one, and why? [/question]

[answer] I have always gone out on a limb and forced through things I believe in – like generous sculpture instead of slab-sided cars. If it’s too cluttered the cars tend to age quickly.

I just love cars. If I can connect anyone emotionally with my designs that’s something I love. Ultimately you want the person who buys a car to really fall in love with the shape. That is always my goal. [/answer]

[question] For you, what’s the most beautiful car every? Why? [/question]

[answer] *Haha* can I mention my own? The Jaguar E-Type convertible is so dramatic and the sculpture is so beautiful, it has to be the E-Type. For myself, it’s the last car I designed because I put so much into it. So that’s the Force One and Fisker EMotion. They have my sweat and blood.[/answer]

[question] Yes, so the Force One is basically a Viper turned up to 11 and re-bodied in more modernism than an art gallery. Why did you choose the Viper to base the car on? And if the Viper is so good, why mess with it?

[answer] Basically I had an idea for an American sports car. It’s the biggest market for sports cars, but there’s nothing at the highest level of the market. American cars mean you get the most band for your buck. I met a guy in Texas who was racing Vipers and all the mechanics of the car seemed perfect.

At the end of the day the Viper was the ultimate because of the long hood, the biggest naturally aspirated motor, and the fraction of the cost of a European sports car. American design is “show me what you got.” You shouldn’t be timid about it. The Force One, more than half the car is the hood, it’s got 21″ wheels, so it was really about designing the car to show the power.[/answer]

[question] So production started in August, have you delivered any cars yet?[/question]

[answer] Yeah, we just delivered the first car to a gentleman in Texas. Our next batch goes out after Christmas.[/answer]

[question]You only plan on making 50 Force Ones. How many have you sold so far, and who is buying them?[/question]

[answer]We’re just having fun. This is a fun club where we’re selling to collectors. We don’t do any advertising. We’re selling mainly to car collectors and enthusiasts. People with a high true affection for cars. This car is for someone who likes having their neighbor come over to their driveway and ask “what is that?”[/answer]

[question]This is such a classic old-school kind of car. Is VLF a rebuttal to electrification?[/question]

[answer]It would be very nice for the future if we have choice, electric cars or sports cars. I like choice. This is the extreme fun side.[/answer]

[question] I really loved the Karma, but given how everything went with that company why are you still playing in the electric car market? Nobody would blame if you if picked up your ball and went home…[/question]

[answer]  With the Karma, it was an amazing experience, it was like the wild west. There were only 3 battery companies for auto and ours went through recalls and went bankrupt.[/answer]

[question]With the EMotion you’ve cracked the 400-mile range barrier. Given that something like 90% of American’s drive less than 40 miles a day, does range really matter?[/question]

[answer]Here’s the simple reason why – it matters until we have an infastructure similar to gas stations. Unless you have a house, if you live in a city like New York or Paris you can’t charge every night. If you have 400 miles of range you only have to charge once a month.[/answer]

[question] So what does the future hold for you? What’s next?[/question]

[answer] A lot of hard work I think! I feel the future is extremely exciting. I just can’t sit still.[/answer]

[question] And finally, here at FactoryTwoFour our goal is to live “the original lifestyle,” what does living the original lifestyle mean to you?[/question]

[answer] Living the original lifestyle means you have to try to make your dreams a reality and never give up. It doesn’t have anything to do with money. I love traveling the world and meeting my customers, and it’s easy because the world is getting smaller. I love doing this, and living your dreams for me is it.[/answer]