Db cofounder Jon Olsson has put camo on everything from cars to cameras to bags...and even his house! Below, we speak with Jon about his long-term relationship with camo, his favorite applications and what he’s doing next.
What inspired you to first put camo on the Lamborghini that you used for Jon Olsson Supersessions?
To be honest I don't remember the exact details, as it's been 13 years now! [laughs] But I know it started with the joke of putting a ski box on a Lambo and that led to the discussion of how cool it would be to make it in camo, as it would kind of look like a military tank in the snow! At that point I did not design much stuff myself so a designer from Stockholm helped me do it and I really like what she did, with big shapes and a subtle look of the camo! But to really answer the question, it was the Swedish army winter military look with the M90 that was the initial inspo!
What’s been your favorite thing you’ve put camo on? What’s made the biggest splash?
I would have to say the house in Marbella. I mean, who paints their house in camo? [laughs] My thinking was that I was going to paint it anyway, so why not do it in camo? Way more bang for the buck! That house together with the Rolls and the first Db camo line just looked awesome!
The untrained eye might look at this camo and think that it looks like the M90. From a design perspective, how is it different from the M90, and other camos?
All camos have similarities, though all of the ones I do are different as well. For sure the M90 is very similar but if you showed me 100 patterns, and I’d made five of them, I am sure I could pick which ones I did! I am super particular in how the angles meet one another and avoiding certain shapes. It’s hard to explain, but to me, every angle is important to give harmony between the shapes and the color blocks! It probably doesn't make a difference for a lot of people who see it, but for me, it's super important! [laughs]
When putting this camo on different types of products, how do you think about making the shape and size different to make the product look its best?
Every product is so different in the way I approach them! Say on a bag you have to create a fabric so that means you have to create a continuous pattern, whereas on a car you kind of have to work with the shape of the vehicle. So in a way, bags are easier as it does not give you a choice and it becomes nice and random, like camo should be, whereas with cars you want to find the mix of enhancing the car’s shapes while still maintaining the camo look.
I have done a few cars where I think I went too much for the shape of the car (like say the first Rs6) so that's why I tried to make it more random on the Huracan (one of my favorites camo layouts on cars actually.) Finding the balance of size of shapes and how random the shapes are is super hard!
On cars I prefer setting the tape on the actual car myself to be able to see how it wraps around the corners, and I can tell you that even though camo might seem like a nice easy random thing to do, I think I have spent way over 1,000 hours testing variations of camo patterns on the stuff I have made!
Can you tell us about any other big camo projects coming up in the future?
Well we do have some very BIG unique stuff coming in the near future and I guess people have seen some teases on my Instagram, so I think we can reveal that it will be floating on water...[laughs]
But since the teases, I think I have redone the design 20 times but I think I am finally happy with that! And then there might be some very special things dropping alongside that project... But I would say that it's the project I have spent the most time on in my life and it's taken over 2 years so far!
It’s super fun to be able to work on all sorts of stuff and I think Camo is just such a cool concept as it's super unique and stands out in its look while still being quite simple and clean!
But I am still searching for the camo look on cars that is perfect. The only camo pattern that has not changed since it was first made is the camo on the Db bags. I still look at that after a few years and I don't see shapes that bother me (on every car I ever did there are always a few shapes I was unhappy with and then it bothers me every single time I see them! [laughs]), so I think that one should just stay the same as it's rare for me to be happy with something, then it's just fun to play with different tones and other details!