VW Media Services reports that Stefan Sielaff is to take over as design chief following the departure of Luc Donckerwolke.
Sielaff will be a busy chap as he as also responsible for VW group’s interior design strategy. Of the two jobs, perhaps that is the most challenging as requires finding imaginative ways to justify the price differentials between VW’s many brands. Sielaff starts at Bentley in July. Donckerwolke was only at Bentley for three years meaning that for much of his tenure he was watching the work of his predecessor being released while his own efforts will be launched with Sielaff occupying his former post. Donckerwolke
leaves VW with this letter of recommendation from Walter de Silva: “Luc Donckerwolke has played a key role in the design of various Group brands. We would like to thank him for his work.” VW’s resume of Sielaff’s work is as follows: “Stefan Sielaff (53), currently Head of the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam, will assume responsibility for design at the Bentley brand effective July 1, 2015 in addition to his present post as Head of Group Interior Design Strategy. As Director of Design at Bentley, Sielaff succeeds Luc Donckerwolke (49), who held this function since 2012.
Stefan Sielaff joined the Volkswagen Group in 1990, beginning his career in the interior design department at Audi. From 1995 the design graduate was entrusted with setting up the Group’s Design Center Europe in Spain. In 1997 he was placed in charge of the Design Studio in Munich and was appointed Head of Audi Interior Design in the same year. In 2003 Sielaff moved to DaimlerChrysler as Design Director of the Interior Competence Center, returning to the Volkswagen Group in 2006 to become Head of Audi Design before being appointed Head of the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam und Head of Group Interior Design Strategy in 2012. In his new function as Director of Design at Bentley, Sielaff reports to Rolf Frech, Board Member for Engineering. In his function as Head of Group Interior Design Strategy he continues to report to Walter de Silva, Head of Group Design.”
Recenltly Donckerwolke caused some perturbation in the small and clubby world of car design by criticising Lincoln’s Continental concept which was said to have more than a passing resemblance to Bentley’s design themes. On his Facebook page he asked of Lincoln “Do you want us to send you the product tooling?” The comment was considered “offensive” by Lincoln’s designer, David Woodhouse, according to Automotive News During his time at Volkswagen, Donckerwolke was responsible for the designs of the Audi R8 Le Mans, the Lamborghini Murcielago and Lamborghini Gallardo, as well as the Seat Tribu SUV concept. He also won the prestigious Red Dot design award, writes Automotive News.
No reasons were cited for Donckerwolke’s departure.