• Nov 14, 2011
Chris Bangle has been awarded the 2012 Lifetime Design Achievement Award by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology for his work in vehicle design. EyesOn Design calls on past award winners to vote for the yearly recipient, and this year's jurors included names like Walter de'Silva, Sergio Pininfarina and Jack Telnack among others. The jurors chose Bangle for his distinguished career that includes time with Opel, Fiat and, most notoriously, BMW. The designer famously redesigned the BMW 3 Series and 7 Series and helped bring vehicles like the X5 and X6 to life.

But while Bangle may have been a polarizing force among BMW faithful, he also had a hand in crafting the Mini line as well as the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom. Bangle's designs are largely credited with helping BMW overtake Mercedes-Benz as the world's leading luxury automaker. He currently operates a design studio in Turin, Italy, though EyesOn Design will present Bangle the Lifetime Achievement Award at a black tie event in June at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford House.
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Top designers select Chris Bangle for Lifetime Design Achievement Award

November 10, 2011, Detroit, MI - A prestigious group of top automotive designers has chosen Chris Bangle as the winner of the 2012 Lifetime Design Achievement Award for his career in vehicle design.

The award, given annually by EyesOn Design, is unique in that only vehicle designers who have previously won the award are allowed to vote. Previous winners include such designers as Walter de'Silva, Tom Gale, Giorgetto Giugiaro, Chuck Jordan, Robert Lutz, Shiro Nakamura, Sergio Pininfarina and Jack Telnack.

Bangle, who currently directs his own design studio in Turin, Italy, has had a distinguished career at Opel, Fiat and at BMW from 1992 to 2009. Born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin, Bangle earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. His first notable work was the modular interior of the Opel Junior
show car and the 1993 Fiat Coupe.

He became the first American Chief of Design for BMW Group in October, 1992. There, he designed the Z9 Gran Turismo concept car, the redesigns of the BMW 3 Series and 7 Series as well as both generations of Z4s and X5s, the X6, the Mille Migna concept car and the striking, fabric-bodied GINA concept car among others.

As BMW's design leader, his team was also responsible for the designs of the MINI, the MINI Clubman and Countryman as well as the Rolls Royce Phantom, the Rolls Royce Ghost and others.
In his time at BMW, his styling themes, in particular the "bustle-back" look of the 7 Series, generated much controversy. Nonetheless, the car became the best-selling 7 Series of all time and during Bangle's tenure, BMW overtook Mercedes as the global leader in premium car sales. The visual cues of his designs have also influenced the look of several automobiles later developed by other manufacturers.

The 2012 Lifetime Design Achievement Award will be presented to Bangle next June at a black tie event during the DIO's EyesOn Design week of activities, which culminate in the annual automobile design show, held every Father's Day on the grounds of the lakefront Eleanor & Edsel Ford House, in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.

Other auto-related DIO events include the EyesOn Design awards each year at the North American
International Auto Show and The Eye & The Auto International Conference, held at the General Motors Global Learning Center in Detroit, Michigan.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      xmailboxcancerx
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chris Bangle ... receiving an award from an Ophthalmology Institute? Why? No need for laser vision correction, just look at a Bangle-era BMW? Now I've seen (hehe) everything.
      JonZeke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Design isnt about pleasing conservative aesthetic principles, nor is it about making things that are merely "pretty." It's about sales, selling - business. Design is there to make things sell, so if the products you design sell like hotcakes, no one really cares about the critics. That is, unless after the sale the design of something made it hard to use and customers returned it. So I totally dig Bangle's success here. Who cares that a bunch of whiners on the internet with no disposable income don't like the "Bangle Butt?" The proof was that those who had means - taste or not - bought his cars in record numbers. If you cared so much, why didn't you go out and buy a Mercedes or Audi instead? And if you did, why are you so mad that someone likes BMW styling? I'm just glad the guy took risks and they paid off. It means for us as designers that companies will be willing to invest on risky ideas in the future.
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm glad he won, especially considering his competition. You have deSilva, who completely ruined vw's lineup, and Pininfarina, who completely ruined ferrari's lineup.
      donnieorama
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can we then take it back for the horrifying Bangle-ized 3 Series?
      CarCrazy24
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well deserved. His designs weren't always the prettiest, but he left an indelible mark on automotive design that spans over the last decade and well into the future. I respect him for taking BMW from just being a lowly Mercedes competitor to one of the best selling luxury marques in recent years.
      minimalist driver
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chris Bangle.....design achievement award........... *breaks out in hysterical laughter*
      Johnny Trailerpark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chris Bangle changed the styling direction of the auto industry. Deal with it.
      Rick C.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I get it. Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology > curing eye sight > Bangle > some really bad designs. It all makes sense.
        xmailboxcancerx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rick C.
        Sorry, small detail: You can't "cure" eye sight. Eye sight is not a disease. You can find a cure for the common cold, a virus, perhaps AIDS one day, but the ability to see is not something you cure. It's something you correct, either by corrective lenses (optometrists are the go-to guys for this) or you can have vision correction surgery (ophthalmologists are specialists for this, such as cataract surgery, implantable lenses, laser-assisted cornea reshaping such as LASIK or PRK, etc.). Now it all makes sense. Sorry for being a dick today.
          lasertekk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xmailboxcancerx
          i think you're not getting into the spirit of the word play in the post above. I get it, and it's funny.
          Rick C.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xmailboxcancerx
          Didn't think anyone would technical. How does 'curing eye sight diseases' work for you...somewhat all encompassing.
      Adam Waltering
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can tell you, this guy knows about design. Who else could rock the 70s beard and hair and still look that respectable.
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chris Bangle wins the Pompous Douchebag of the Year Award. Now THAT I would believe.
      _I_I_II_I_I_
      • 3 Years Ago
      ophthalmologists like him because he's caused so much pain to eyes
      cinoiem
      • 3 Years Ago
      He's the revolution of automotive design.
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