Michael Robinson is a world leading American car designer who has lived in Torino, Italy for the past 40 years. His passion for car design started very early, when at age 16, in
Seattle Washington, USA, he discovered Italian car design thanks to a magazine poster of the 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero designed by Marcello Gandini in Bertone. From that point on he followed his dream and immigrated to Torino, Italy after graduating from college at the University of Washington, where he played on the nationally acclaimed basketball team.
His first job in Torino in 1979 was at a tiny design studio called Open Design run by Aldo Sessano. He also worked at Ghia, Ford’s Italian car design studio, and arrived in the Fiat
Design Center in 1986, where he designed the interiors of the Fiat Bravo & amp; Brava which won the 1995 European Car of the Year. As the Lancia design Director in 1996, he created many important concept cars, like the 1998 Dialogos and the 2000 Nea, two of the very first autonomous automobiles in the world. His team of talented young designers also designed many production cars, like the 1998 Lybra, the 2002 Phedra and Thesis, and the 2003 Ypsilon. In 1999, his team design the Giubileo “Popemobile” and personally presented it to Pope John Paul II along with the Fiat board. As the Design Director in Fiat his most notable design was the record selling Fiat Ducato delivery van.
In 2009, he became the Design Director of Bertone, where his team of 30 creative designers worked on many automotive and non-automotive designs. His radical 2010 Alfa Romeo Pandion concept car celebrated the 100-year anniversary for Alfa, and was presented around the world, including Geneva, Beijing, Pebble Beach, and Dubai. Other concept cars included two Jaguars, an Aston Martin, the Bertone Centennial celebration concept in 2012, and a number of Chinese concept cars. Every production car project was a competition in many different Chinese manufacturers, which were often won against as many as five different design studios. Non-automotive projects included the Trenitalia Frecciarossa 1000, the 400km/h high-speed train, the AgustaWestland Project
Zero, a fully electric helicopter which won the coveted Grover Bell Most Innovative Helicopter Award in 2013, plus many other projects such as yachts, skyscrapers, hotel
interiors, train stations, etc.
Today he works as an independent designer, dedicated to limited series prototypes for private clients, as well as mass production cars for Chinese clients. In 2003 he was
inducted into the Car Design Hall of Fame at the National Automobile Museum in Torino, MAUTO. He is a well-known futurist, often presenting cutting edge technology like autonomous vehicles, 20 years before the rest of the world begins to join the scene. His famous “sketch articles” found in Quattroruote magazine have addressed both the critique of popular car designs, as well as describing advanced automotive technology to readers. At home he is a painter, sculptor, journalist, and author.