Chris Bangle, the charismatic designer and ex-chief of design at BMW receives the Lifetime Design Achievement Award from EyesOn Design.

His retirement in March of 2009 marked the end of a decade and a half of service designing automobiles for BMW. Born in the USA, Christopher Bangle, aged 52, has been Head of BMW Group Design Development since October 1992.

While his talent and passion for design are undeniable, Bangle can also be considered one of the most controversial designers of all time. He has made a name in the automotive world, not only through his vision and talent, but also through some controversial BMW vehicles. One of them, the E65 7 Series and the now famous “Bangle butt”, a model which introduced to the world the concept of “flame surfacing”. Fast forward many years and a large number of automakers are using Bangle-cues in their design.

Read: Bangle’s Legacy

Over the years numerous designs for new vehicles and vehicle concepts have been developed under Christopher Bangle’s leadership. As well as continuing the BMW 3, 5 and 7 Series, he and his teams were responsible for a range of other models, including the BMW Z3, BMW Z4, BMW X5, BMW Z8, BMW X3, the new BMW 6 Series, the BMW X6 and the BMW 1 Series. Other developments under the auspices of Christopher Bangle include the new MINI and Rolls-Royce models and a number of innovative motorcycle concepts.

Here is a video below with Bangle receiving the award. Stay tuned for an exclusive interview we have conducted this week with Chris Bangle who talks about the future of car design, among many other interesting topics.

Press Release:

Renowned car designer feted at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club during EyesOn Design weekend

July 16, 2012, Detroit, MI. Well-known car designer Chris Bangle was presented with the 2012 Lifetime Design Achievement Award in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan on June 15 at the Vision Honored black-tie event which kicked off the EyesOn Design automotive design show weekend.

The weekend culminated with the 25th anniversary EyesOn Design car show on the grounds of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores on Father’s Day, June 17, which featured nearly 300 of the best-looking vehicles ever made.

The Lifetime Design Achievement Award, given annually by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO), is unique in that only vehicle designers who have previously won the award are eligible to vote.

Born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin, Bangle gained fame as BMW’s design leader where his recognizable styling themes helped the brand set sales records and overtake Mercedes Benz as the global leader in premium car sales. Since 2009, he has directed his own design studio in Turin, Italy.

Displayed at the yacht club were several concept cars including the unique fabric-bodied GINA concept car designed by Bangle. The car was also shown at the Sunday show.

“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.

Also remarking on Bangle’s career during the Vision Honored evening were Ed Welburn, General Motors Vice President of Global Design; Joel Piaskowski, Director, Exterior Design for the Americas, Ford Motor Company and Jack Telnack, retired Ford designer and the 2005 recipient of the Lifetime Design Achievement Award.

Lear Corporation and Nissan were sponsors of the Vision Honored award ceremony.

EyesOn Design is unique among auto shows because it celebrates vehicle design. The show and weekend events are a major source of revenue for the DIO’s research, education and support programs for the visually-impaired.

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.