Book Review: Belgian Car Designers

Why do Belgian designers play such an important role in the automotive industry? The answer can perhaps be found in a new book covering the life and work of 10 automotive ‘celebrities’ from that one, small nation.

Automotive celebrities such as Bentley design director Dirk van Braeckel. The book traces his career from an early start as an electrical engineer, through his studies at the Royal College of Art, to his present position; likewise Luc Donckerwolke, now SEAT’s design chief but probably most famous for the work he did at Lamborghini.

There are also less well-known, but nevertheless highly influential figures in contemporary automotive design – such as Pininfarina design director Lowie Vermeersch, who assumed his post at the Italian design company at the tender age of 34.

Author Bart Lenaerts muses on the reasons for the success of so many Belgian designers. Is it the early promotion of creativity in Belgian schools? Or does artistic background come from the designers themselves?

Book Review: Belgian Car Designers Book Review: Belgian Car Designers

Ultimately, the author provides no definitive answer but rather offers a wealth of background detail to encourage readers to come up with their own theories. Other Belgians presented in the book include Lotus designer Steve Crijns, BMW’s SUV designer Pierre Leclercq, and the spiritual father of the BMW Vision Concept, Jochen Paesen.

Book Review: Belgian Car Designers Book Review: Belgian Car Designers

In addition to English, French and Dutch text, original drawings – many of them never seen publicly before – illustrate the creative process from the initial concept through to creation.

For further information, see

Text: Classic Driver
Photos: WAFT

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