Lynk & Co
You see them pop up in every great European city. Lynk & Co is taking cities and their streets by storm. Launching a completely new brand in a fiercely competitive market is a bold move. But the vision of the man behind it is a story in itself.
Meet Alain Visser, the man who is finally making car sharing work. One of his key moves is the Lynk & Co Clubs - where music plays a big role. In these experiential brand spaces, everyone is welcome to join free events and workshops, see local art and have drinks.
What role does music play in your life, Alain?
Well, my love for music started very early. I got my first Philips record player at the age of 11. My first record was 'The Sky Is The Limit' by the Temptations. I was an instant fan and spent all of my money on vinyl. My taste developed towards Motown, then funk and jazz. As a student, I even had my own pirate radio show, playing jazz and funk.
I almost compulsively make time for music. Every morning and evening I spend some time on Spotify, listening to new releases and scrolling through the song radio. That’s how I discover new music, every single day.
How does music fit into the Lynk & Co brand?
The car industry may look cool from the outside, but 20 years in it have taught me otherwise. Big brands avert risks and lack an emotional connection. At the same time, you see that experiences are more important than ever.
We based Lynk & Co on experience, rather than product. You can copy a service or a product, but it’s damn hard to copy a great experience. That's where the Lynk & Co Clubs come in. The cars are really great, but the experience truly sets us apart. Music plays an important role there.
“The cars are really great, but the experience
truly sets us apart. Music plays an important role there.”
My goal is for everyone who enters the club for the first time to say, 'What the f*ck?’. It’s easy to be provocative in a blunt way, but we try to do it with flair and a sense of humour. Some old-fashioned colleagues in the car industry don't like us for that. But as long as I feel we're on the right track, we'll continue to move in that direction.
A ‘what the f*ck’ car brand, tell us more!
People might expect a minimalistic car dealership, but will run into a yoga class, for example. Then they see creatives working on their laptops while a weird old song plays before they get a glimpse of Lynk & Co 01. Getting a subscription is highly optional.
“They see creatives working on their laptops
while a weird old song plays before they
get a glimpse of Lynk & Co 01.”
All Lynk & Co clubs have recognizable elements like the yellow sofa, the bar design and the hanging lighting. Other than that, anything goes. We often find buildings with charming old elements. We keep the structure in place and add a lot of colour and personality. See the resemblance to our cars?
Our new Munich club has toilets with old-fashioned Bavarian decorations while cheesy German music plays. It’s a total contrast to the modern vibe of the club. In Amsterdam there is the infamous Pillow Room and in Milan there are some extremely colourful toilets.
You had a very clear vision for the sound. Tell us about it.
Our sound is far more than just background music, it's part of the club interior, almost in a tangible way. Without music, a space is dead. Together with our curator Matthew, we have found the perfect eclectic balance. I know immediately if something fits the brand. Some might call it a bizarre cacophony, but the music expresses a certain feeling. It's feel-good, but not in a mainstream way.
“Without music, a space is dead.”
At the beginning of our collaboration, Matthew asked me if there was one song that fit the brand perfectly. To be honest, I found it very difficult to answer that question. But it could be 'Mi Mujer' by Nicolas Jaar 🎵 because it reflects so many different feelings and influences. It’s hard to categorise, and that's what I love about it.
Unexpected music and car sharing, what else is new?
Coming from Volvo, I am of course familiar with their daughter brand Polestar. They have a very thin book on what liberties you can take with the brand. We have a very thin book on what is not possible with our brand. It’s just a different mindset. I mean, what other car brand does food events, yoga classes, inspirational talks and cocktail classes? Anything goes, as long as it fits our sustainable, fun identity.
So what’s in store for the future?
Who knows, I'm very open-minded about what lies ahead. I'd love to explore how we can expand our brand with music as an important foundation. One dream is to host our own music festival where we can surprise people with quality music. I'd book Masego, Bon Iver, Khruangbin and Kings of Convenience. Which is very much like what you hear in our clubs now.
“One dream is to host our own music festival
where we can surprise people with quality music.”