Wim Gilles

Wim Gilles (1923-2003), industrial designer, teacher and academy director. Born in Alkmaar, Gilles attended secondary technical school (MTS) and the School for Graphical Design. From 1945 to 1947, he worked at sugar factory Puttershoek as an assistant engineer, executive secretary and furnishing advisor. Afterwards, he was designer at publisher Samson from 1947 to 1949. From 1949 to 1953, Gilles worked for the company DRU, the Royal Diepenbrock & Reigers Factory in Ulft, designing products such as a kettle, heaters and packagings. Since then, Gilles had his own office. Frans van der Put assisted in the design of various products from 1956 onwards. Gilles was the director of the Eindhoven Academy of Industrial Design from 1970 to 1973, where he had been a teacher as well.
Gilles was a co-founder of KIO (Association of Industrial Designers). In the book Het ontstaan der dingen (‘The origin of things’), Wim Crouwel called him a pioneer and a true doer, a man of practice who wanted nothing to do with more culturally engaged designers. Truijen called him enthusiastic and energetic in his autobiography. Gilles advocated product analysis and he wrote a brochure on the topic for the Institute for Industrial Design in 1957.

The archive of Wim Gilles has been transferred to the Regionaal Historisch Centrum Eindhoven, where it is currently being made available.


The Dutch version of this biography is taken from the book Visies op vormgeving, het Nederlandse ontwerpen in teksten deel 2: 1940-2000 (2008) by Frederike Huygen. The following sources have been used for this biography:
– cat. ‘Vormgevers, Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum) 1968.
– Duits, T. te (ed.) ‘Het ontstaan der dingen. Schetsen, modellen en prototypes’, Rotterdam 2003.