The Chicago Athenaeum has named Chris Bangle as this year's laureate of the American Prize for Design. Chris Bangle is the prolific American automobile designer known best for his work as Chief of Designer for BMW Group, where he was responsible for the BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce motor cars.
Each year, The American Prize for Design is awarded jointly by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies to designers who have made a commitment to forward the principles of design excellence within the context of our contemporary society and who have elevated design to a more a profound humanist statement about how our modern contemporary society can advance and progress as a result.
Given in conjunction with the Museum's historic Good Design Awards, which were founded in Chicago in 1950, this Prize honors a specific design practitioner with the highest pubic accolade for producing design that promotes design excellence, innovation, and lasting design.
"What is most intriguing about Bangle and his design philosophies-and unlike most industrial designers today, he has a tight intellectual approach to design-is that he so very much profoundly influenced by architecture," architecture critic Christian Narkiewicz-Laine stated. "In fact, he approaches the design for an automobile much the same as an architect does a building or a city.
"He has himself pointed out that Frank Gehry has been a major influence on him and he has embraced some revolutionary architectural theories in his work such as Deconstructivism. His thinking also evolves from the same social and civic Utopian concepts as Alessandro Mendini or Aldo Rossi - a kind of 'form follows emotion.'"
Chris Bangle will officially receive The American Prize for Design at a reception late summer (TBC) along with recipients of the 2021 Good Design.
Photo: BMW Gina Concept