(By Ayhan Ensici)
Murat Günak took over as Head of Design of the Volkswagen Group on 1st January 2004. He is now responsible for the design activities of all brands in the Group. Gunak succeeds Dr. Hartmut Warkuss. Dr. Warku§ leaves the Volkswagen Group after almost 36 successful years with the company. Murat Günak studied design at Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Kassel and was awarded the degree of Master of Automotive Design by the Royal College of Art in London. Gunak became Head of Design at Peugeot in 1994, before assuming responsibility for the design of Mercedes Passenger Cars, Maybach and SLR at DaimlerChrysler AG in 1998. He has been Head of Design at the Volkswagen brand group (Volkswagen, Skoda, Bentley) since April 2003.
Could you briefly tell us about your design career? How does everthing start and come up to Daimler-Chrysler?
I graduated as a stage Designer in Kassel /Germany. After some work experiance with opera stage design I got a sponsership from Ford Motor C. for a Mastercourse of automotive Design at the Royal College of Art in London. After graduation I worked 2 years at Ford in Cologne ,-than for 8years at Mercedes . After i have been responsible for 5 years for the design of all Peugeot passenger cars in Paris ,- I came back to Mercedes . Since 4 years now I am as a Vice President responsible for the design of all Mercedes Benz passenger cars.
What are the milestones of your design career abroad?
Design of automobiles that are produced million times and are visible all around the world.
As a designer, are you designing or need to design other products beside automobile?
I do not see any use of redesigning consumer articles just for the satifaction of design. Iwould like to design a opera stage at some point.
Does it cause any difficulties to work in an interdisciplinary team in Germany?
No. Not in my Design staff. We are about 300 interdisciplinary creatives.
We suppose you confront mental differences in your design practice? How do you be able to cope?
I challenge the points of views . Listen , analyse, and then decide what to do.
How cultural differences affect design projects?
They can broaden the mental and creative input in a team.
Do you observe any influence of turkish culture in your design works?
Yes. In colours and lines.
Turkish culture may seem authentic to Europeans, can it be new expansions in design approaches?
Yes, if it sucseeds to get better known outside of turkey. Very good international communication is needed.
How do you feed your designer core?
Joy of life.
How can you define your design approach?
Everythinking and everything is possible.
What is the joy of design?
To imagine , to create and to bring to reality what startet as an idea in the head.
Do you think that design is a way of life or a profession?
For me it is a profession.
Your future plans?
To be part designing the future.
What do you recommend to people who are planning a design career abroad?
To learn other languages, travell and find a good design education.
What is Turkish culture? What does it include?
A great history. A great Art .The believe in god. Respectfull behavior.
In your opinion, what are the advantages of growing up in a multicultural environment?
Respect for other cultures , and human beeings.
Have you got a chance to glance at Designophy web-site?
Country you want to live in?
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This interview is made in 2002. Designophy ©