Meet GM Design Chief Ed Welburn

Harvey Earl's corner office in the General Motors Design Center fits Ed Welburn like a driving glove. He is impeccably dressed, not in the avant-garde black of his younger designers, but in a gray-flannel suit with a pocket square, GM pin, blue French-cuffed shirt, and black satin tie. Architect Eero Saarinen, who drew the sprawling Design Center as part of the GM Technical Center in the late 1940s, also did Earl's office and its furniture.

Earl certainly felt at home in it. His equally flamboyant successor Bill Mitchell fit in, but this mid-century design just looked dated during the years of the three chief designers between Mitchell and Welburn. With GM design making a comeback largely by paying homage to those exuberant Earl and Mitchell years, the office clearly has the right occupant.


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