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Crewe/Brussels, January 16, 2008 … Dirk van Braeckel, director of design at Bentley Motors, has been awarded the prestigious European Automotive Design Award by Designers (Europe), in partnership with FEBIAC, the Belgian automotive industry association. Previous winners of the award, which honours excellence and originality in automotive design, include Giorgietto Giugiaro in 2004 and Sergio Pininfarina in 2006.
Belgian-born Dirk van Braeckel, who cites cubist architecture, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and classic cars of the ’60s and ’70s among his inspirations, studied electrical engineering at technical school in his home town of Deinze. He started work as a trainee designer at the Cologne design studio of Ford, which sponsored him to study automotive design at London’s Royal College of Art. After graduation he spent ten years with Audi’s exterior design team before moving to Skoda in 1993. His influence came at a pivotal time for the brand and under his direction the company produced several key models, including the Octavia and Fabia.
As the Design Director of Bentley, Dirk van Braeckel was responsible for the Bentley Continental GT, a sleek, 560PS 2+2 coupé that was launched in 2003 and swiftly re-established Bentley at the pinnacle of hand-crafted grand tourers. Subsequently Bentley’s design team developed the four-door Continental Flying Spur and the convertible Continental GTC, as well as the new Bentley Azure and Brooklands coupé. Under his direction the Bentley design team has developed a confident new design language for the 21st century that nonetheless honours the marque traditions.
Speaking of the European Automotive Design Award, Dirk says: “As a young designer I admired the work of Bertone, Gandini and Pininfarina, so it’s an honour to follow in such famous footsteps. My vision for Bentley was to create the ultimate in desirability – a classic of the future. This award is an endorsement of that vision.”
The awards ceremony will take place at the Brussels Exhibition Centre on January 16 2008, in the presence of Her Majesty Princess Astrid of Belgium.