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Posts Tagged ‘Eyes On Design’

Eyes on Design Tabs Le Quement for Lifetime Achievement Award

Former Renault design chief joins long list of designers.

by on Sep.24, 2014

Former Renault design chief Patrick le Quement is the Lifetime Design Achievement award winner for the 2015 Eyes on Design.

Each Father’s Day, as many as 300 cars get parked in the front yard of one family in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Massive prank? Nope. It’s the annual Eyes on Design car show that raises money for charity and honors someone who has impacted auto design.

This year, Patrick le Quement is the 2015 recipient of the Eyes On Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award. The award is given annually by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, which benefits from the show, as part of the annual Eyes on Design week. The show is held on the lawn at the Eleanor & Edsel Ford House and features a theme each year.

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Le Quement was the senior vice-president of corporate design at Renault from 1995 to 2009 and was chairman of the joint design policy group coordinating design within the Renault-Nissan alliance. (more…)

Design Remains More Art than Digital Science

Designers search for the balance between passion and hard data.

by on May.08, 2014

GM Designer Tom Peters with the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. He led the exterior design team.

While sophisticated technology has become an essential tool in the modern automotive styling studio, it still requires a human touch to bring designs to life.

“The artistic aspect is critical to car design,” stressed Tom Peters, the lead designers at General Motors for performance cars, during a discussion on car design at a meeting of the Automotive Press Association. “It’s through the human touch the passion is instilled in cars,” added Peters.  “Our products are very tactile, you have to engage the senses.”

Designed for You!

Though infotainment systems and fuel economy have becoming increasingly critical, competitive elements in today’s auto market, design remains one of the most important factors for shoppers choosing a new vehicle, studies reveal. In fact, there are many who contend that this is a new “Golden Age” for stylists as even brands like Toyota and Hyundai that traditionally settled for “plain vanilla” styling push for more passion in their products.


Bangle Given Lifetime Achievement Award

Controversial former BMW design chief honored.

by on Jul.17, 2012

Chris Bangle, shown with his design team during his years at BMW.

He is one of the most influential designers of the last two decades – and one of the most controversial.  All of which added up to a Lifetime Achievement Award for Chris Bangle, the former BMW styling boss that gave the world the notorious “Bangle-butt.”

The annual Design Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bangle this week during the annual Eyes on Design Automotive gala, the capper to a weekend event that focuses specifically on styling. And controversial as he might have been, there are few that would argue that Bangle didn’t have a significant impact on the shape of the modern automobile.

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“Chris was constantly exploring new ideas and innovations in design, as seen in the GINA concept,” noted Alec Bernstein, director of advanced communications, BMW DesignWorks USA.

Now running his own design studio in Turin, Italy, the 55-year-old Bangle became BMW’s first American design chief in 1992, quickly creating a splash with the Z9 Gran Turismo concept.  Few designers seemed more willing – or ready — to relish controversy, Bangle either penning or overseeing a series of distinctive and often debated products during his 17 years with the Bavarian maker.

But arguably no model generated more controversy than the 7-Series, known internally as the E65.  BMW was an also-ran in the premium luxury segment and had decided it was time to tackle rival Mercedes-Benz’s dominant S-Class.  The new 7-er was bigger, bolder – and featured such unusual design elements as its hooded headlights and huge decklid – which critics quickly dubbed the Bangle-butt.

Initial reaction was anything but positive.  Sales slipped sharply and Time declared the new 7-Series one of the “50 Worst Cars of All Time.”  But after a slow start the demand began to click, eventually becoming the best-selling 7-Series ever.  It ultimately helped BMW overtake its Stuttgart rival to become the best-selling luxury automotive brand.

Of course, that’s just one of the more distinctive designs to emerge from the BMW studios under Bangle’s reign.  He also brought forth the Z3 roadster and its successor, the Z4 – as well as another love-it-or-leave-it design, the Z Coupe.

Bangle introduced the concept of “flame surfacing” to BMW, allowing the maker to use the latest computer technology to create distinctive, if not always elegant, compound surface curves and bold design elements like the 7-Series’ rear deck.  A student of industrial design and architecture, Bangle has often pointed to Frank Gehry as one of his strong influences.

Martin Smith, a senior designer with Ford, suggests Bangle has steered automotive stylists to provide more “surface entertainment.”

Patrick le Quement, of Renault, meanwhile, suggests that Bangle’s “designs have a great deal of presence, and they’re well proportioned. He’s been highly influential. My only concern is his use of concave surfaces: they’re hollow shapes and lack that tightly muscled look I feel helps design.”

Whichever side of the debate one falls on, however, it is clear that Bangle continues to have an influence on automotive design even after leaving BMW to work on his own.

Designed to Please

Focus is on styling at annual Eyes on Design extravaganza.

by on Jun.21, 2011

Bob Lutz with his father's Aston Martin DB2 Vantage.

There was something familiar about the car stuck in the back of a Swiss restoration shop, something Bob Lutz confirmed when he found the ancient owner’s manual and saw the neat notations made by his father nearly a half century earlier.

It took Lutz, the now-retired General Motors car czar just moments to decide to buy the old 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage and ship it home to begin a long and laborious restoration process.  But it eventually paid off, the one-time Marine pilot winning a Best-in-Class trophy, this past weekend, at the annual Eyes on Design show.

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“The car was a mess,” recalls Lutz, having gone through several inappropriate modifications, “but it was my dad’s so I bought it.”  Ironically, the long-time industry icon admits, he could have gotten it from his father in 1959, “But I was in the Marines, then, and had no place to keep it.”

There were plenty of treasures found and restored on display at the Eyes on Design event, held each year at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford mansion, in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Eyesight, engaging, egregious and enthusiasm …

by on Jun.19, 2009

EyesOn Design Creates “Expressions” of Willie G. Davidson

Willy G. Davidson

The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology is celebrating its 23rd year of raising money to support research for the visually impaired, through the efforts of EyesOn Design’s annual Vision Honored event. Each year notable designers and past recipients select an individual to receive the EyesOn Design prestigious Lifetime Design Achievement Award. This year EyesOn Design will present the award to iconic motorcycle designer Willie G. Davidson, Senior Vice President and Chief Styling Officer at Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

At 4 pm on Saturday June 20, 2009, motorcycle enthusiasts are invited to ride with Davidson from the ABC Harley-Davidson dealer in Waterford, Michigan to the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, where they will enjoy a creative black-tie affair “unlike any other in metro Detroit.”

Surrounded by legendary examples of GM automotive design, guests will enjoy an evening filled with surprises. Willie G. Davidson and Harley aficionados will roll into the Heritage Center at 6 pm. cocktails and appetizers will be served outside, amongst the chrome and steel of the motorcycles and the sounds of American Rock ‘n Roll. At 7 pm, the dinner and presentation will celebrate Davidson’s design achievements.

The evening will continue at 9 pm as guests enjoy Club Night Vision, a party within a party, which will feature cocktails, desserts and a display of fashions, art, film and music inspired by the designs of Willie G. Davidson. Guests will dance the night away with Willie G. and friends enjoying the evening. Tickets for Club Night Vision only are priced at $75 per person. Tickets for the full evening of celebration are priced at $300 per person or $2,750 per table of 10 — visit the website.