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In memory of automobile designer and Red Dot juror Uwe Bahnsen


The world of design has lost one of its outstanding personalities. Uwe Bahnsen passed away on 30 July 2013, but his designs for Ford will keep on standing for a unique era of the company. He has been working for the American car manufacturer for more than two decades. The cars he designed for the European market shared a new language of form, which has been defining for the entire automobile industry.

Uwe Bahnsen, born in Hamburg in 1930, graduated from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in that city. He held various positions at Ford Europe from 1958 to 1986, culminating in the post of Vice President for Design. In 1986 he was appointed director of studies at the Art Center College of Design (Europe), of which he was subsequently principal from 1990 to 1995. In 1992 he was elected to the Executive Board of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid), and was the council´s President from 1995 to 1997. Uwe Bahnsen was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and an International Member of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).

Several times, as a design expert, he has been a juror of the Red Dot Award: Product Design. With his expertise in the field of car design, he contributed to the decision making within the competition. Professor Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and CEO of Red Dot, expressed his sadness of the death of Uwe Bahnsen: “Uwe announced myself as Icsid President in 2005. I have been very proud back then that it was him. I always respected him for his personality and admired him for his designs. As a young man, I drove some of the Ford models he designed – though they belonged by my father. It was a fantastic feeling driving his cars. For participating in the Red Dot jury sessions, Uwe drove his Ford all the way from his former domicile in Switzerland. He was an automobile designer that can hardly be found today. I am very sad.”


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