Canadian automotive designer Ralph Gilles feels shaken to “the core” to have received the Eyes on Design award, because it’s awarded by past recipients — his heroes.
“If you look back at the list of previous winners, it’s really the who’s who of design, at least for three solid decades if not four decades of design,” Gilles, chief designer at Stellantis, told Automotive News Canada. “And in that list are some of my heroes.”
The award, launched in 1988 by the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, recognizes lifetime achievement in automotive design. Past recipients include Sergio Pininfarina (1991), Tom Gale (Chrysler, 2002), Walter de’Silva (Volkswagen Group, 2011) Chris Bangle (BMW, 2012), Peter Schreyer (Kia, 2014) and Ed Welburn (General Motors, 2018).
Gilles, 52, will receive the award at a ceremony in spring.
“I’m a little shocked because it’s so significant and because you feel kind of welcomed into this community, said Gilles, who holds Canadian and U.S. citizenships.
“It sounds maybe cheesy, but like when an F1 driver might win a championship, it seems like all that effort paid off and all the sacrifices and the attention to detail.”