Walter de Silva, the man behind most of Audi’s current designs, is retiring as Head of Group Design for Volkswagen. His retirement will be effective at the end of November. This is a sad day for Audi design, as de Silva was responsible for many of the great Audi products in recent years. de Silva’s most notable designs were the Audi A5 and the Audi R8. Ironically, the Audi A5 is also the design that he claims was his best ever. It’s hard to disagree with the Italian-born de Silva, as the A5 is a gorgeous design, managing to be both muscular and elegant.
de Silva started his career at SEAT in 1998 and in 2002 became the design chief for Audi and Lamborghini as well. In 2007, de Silva was named Head of Group Design for Volkswagen and helped shape the image for the Volkswagen Group as a whole. His career is a remarkable one and he will be remembered for some of the amazing designs that he penned.
Matthias Müller, current CEO of Volkswagen Group, said about de Silva “Walter de Silva epitomizes creativity and the Italian sense of beauty and style on the one hand and thoroughness, a systematic approach and discipline on the other.” to which he continued “Walter de Silva succeeded in establishing a design culture and methodology across all Group brands that is unique in our industry. At the same time, he was the driving force in preserving a high degree of creative autonomy for the brands and their design departments.”
Walter de Silva amassed several awards and accolades over his long career. He was awarded the “Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany 2010” for his work on the Audi A5. That’s the highest award in Germany for automotive design. In his home country of Italy, de Silva was awarded with the “Compasso d’Oro” (Golden Compass) in 2011.
Walter de Silva designed many beautiful cars for several different automakers. He started his career at Fiat, then turned to Alfa Romeo, finally ending up with Volkswagen Group. de Silva will remain with the Volkswagen Group in an advisory role, but will retire from his official position. His designs will be missed and this is truly an end of a design era for the Audi and the Volkswagen Group as a whole.