Having studied transportation design at the Royal College of Art in London, Peter Schreyer started working at Audi’s design department in 1980 – a time when the Ingolstadt-based brand was far from being considered a leader in automotive design. In 1991, Schreyer moved to Volkswagen’s prestigious design studio in California and, two years later, became VW’s head of exterior design. But his heart was still with Audi, so in 1994 he returned – and subsequently steered the brand’s stratospheric rise to global design leadership until 2002. We have only started to really understand the stylistic importance of the iconic Audi TT or the visionary, alu-bodied A2 – but it is safe to say that these hero cars of the Apple iMac generation changed the rules of the game for good. Having been part of the Volkswagen group for more than 25 years, Schreyer left his position as Head of Design of the VW group to become Chief Design Officer for Kia Motors in 2006. Since then, Peter Schreyer has successfully torn down cultural barriers between Eastern and Western design culture and become one of the key figures of “Hallyu” – the wave of Korean culture, arts and design that took the world by storm.
As “Roots and Wings” – an ambitious 336-page book published by Gestalten in Berlin – illustrates, Peter Schreyer is not just a creator of well-proportioned cars, but a true renaissance man. Traditionalist and visionary alike, Schreyer is an artist and design philosopher with holistic ideas of creative thinking and the principles of good design. Looking at the formative moments and pivotal artistic discoveries that shaped his creative mindset, “Roots and Wings” is the story of how a man helped two polarizing cultures merge to create something unique, leaving a mark on history and the future, in the process.