Form & Function Design 2005

From industrial pioneers to industry innovators, these designers create the world's hottest products

patented tortoise shell accents. Gilles notes that even the windows are daring. “You see that kind of glass-dividing ratio on a sports vehicle all the time bu
t not on a mass-produced sedan.” Gilles has
served as design director for Chrysler since 2001. He first came to the company in 1992, doing interior work on concept and production cars. The Jeep Liberty, Dodge Viper, and Dodge Magnum bear his signature. Gilles, 35, follows three simple rules: Take risks, keep it timeless, and provide added value. “It is more challenging to do a $30,000 car that looks and feels like a $70,000 one,” he says. What’s next? The Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravans. “Cars are such a fabric of American culture that as a designer, you can literally sculpt the future, and make history that’s very appealing.” –CMB

CHRIS AIRE, LOS ANGELES, OWNER | LEAD DESIGNER, 2 AWESOME INTERNATIONAL: After watching his high-profile clientele sport a Rolex, International Watch Co., or Franck Muller timepiece, Chris Aire established his own upscale line. Designed with jetsetters in mind, his Traveler’s wristwatches feature five time zones and a unique, patented large-face design called the “bouclier” shape. His signature ladies’ and men’s line starts at $5,300 and soars to $125,000 for a chronograph embossed with platinum and diamonds. Celebrity entertainers and athletes are also hot for Aire’s trademarked Red Gold, which the metallurgist invented by blending several alloys to create an autumn rose hue. Dubbed the “Ice Man” by Cedric the Entertainer, Aire has always shown artistic flair. Yet, growing up in Benin, West Africa, he dreamed of becoming an actor or musician. Unable to find steady, paying gigs in Hollywood, Aire went to work at an acquaintance’s jewelry store. He launched 2 Awesome International in 1996 and designs everything from bridal jewelry to custom-made pieces, including diamond dog tags. But make no mistake, Aire, who in his 30s, is about craftsmanship and not just the bling- bling. “I take a lot of pride in my work … making merchandise not just for the famous but for connoisseurs seeking the quality, elegance, and timeless style of fine jewelry.” –CMB

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