Prof. Dr. h. c. Gorden Wagener - Portrait

Gorden Wagener Introduced New Mercedes-Benz Design Language

“As a child, it was a big dream of mine to become an automotive designer. Because my father always drove Mercedes-Benz, I designed and drew one Mercedes after another”, says Gorden Wagener, who was born on September 3, 1968 in Essen.

Wagener first completed a course of industrial design studies

After leaving school, Wagener first studied Industrial Design at the University of Essen, until after three years of study he went on to broaden his horizons and at the same time take up the growing challenge of automotive design. The choice was between the two leading schools specializing in automotive design – the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, USA, and the Royal College of Art in London, England. “For me, only these two schools came into question”, says Wagener.

London was the next important station for Gorden Wagener – and formative: “London was great. A big, trendy city. Number one in design in Europe. An inspiring city with a creative atmosphere. What I particularly appreciated at the Royal College was the high standard.”

He specializes in automotive design

After the time in London he went back to Essen, where he completed his studies. “The return to Germany was not easy. Compared to London, it all seemed provincial to me. I then wrote my diploma thesis in cooperation with VW and later also worked for Volkswagen. But that’s not where my design world was. So I did what I obviously do best: I created a folder with Mercedes drawings and presented them at Mercedes. My ideas, my visions of a design that would carry the Mercedes brand into the future, arrived”.

Over the years, since 1997, he was involved in all Mercedes-Benz model series as well as the SL, SLK, and SLR McLaren sports cars. About nine years later, in 2006, Gorden Wagener took over the management of the US design studio of Mercedes in Los Angeles/California, where he could pursue his greatest hobby, windsurfing, in addition to his designer existence.

Gorden Wagener promoted to Head of Design Mercedes-Benz

In mid-2008, Wagener finally succeeded Peter Pfeifer as head of Mercedes design and one year later received the title of professor honoris causa from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest.

As varied as Wagener’s life is, one thing has not changed during all these years, his favorite car: “The 300 SL gullwing, the sports car icon of the last century”, says Wagener.

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