The Design Jury of the 2014 Golden Steering Wheel award grew to five members – up from three of the previous edition. This means that design finally had the same influence on to the final verdict as any other of the seven categories involved. Besidy my little person, Andrea Zagato, Rem Koolhas, Patrick le Quément and Saul Santana – right to left – were involved in seriously entertaining deisgn discussions at Fiat/Pirellis test track in Balocco last October. Andrea, Patrick and I were almost unseparable – only the hottest two-seater wheels managed in fact to keep us apart. This said, we not always agreed on how many points to give in our 5 judgement areas: Look, Innovation, Quality, Daily Use, Timelessness.
Atmosphere in the pimped-up Hall of the Axel Springer Haus just before the Award Ceremony in November was of relaxed excitement. Just before the show, design meets design with Walter de Silva, Head of Corporate Design at Volkswagen Group, Angelika Müller, publisher of H.O.M.E. and Domus Magazine and myself discussing the old topic of beauty – and of course, betting on who would win the game. My big question was: can the new VW Passat, which got the highest scores in design, outbeat the new Mercedes C-Class?
And the answer is: Yes VW can. The German group had a very lucky strike with an astonishing six out of seven golden wheels – three of them for Porsche, one for the Passat. This luckily confirmed my previous judgement. No way to discuss the rightness of the overall verdict, certified by the staff of KPMG who also supervised the voting process. The 7th wheel, assigned by the European public, went to Mazda, while the 8th and most honourable went to Elon Musk of Tesla Motors. Here’s the traditional picture of jury and winners – all actully happy to move up to the top floor for dinner.