Micheal Castiglione, principal exterior designer on the 2006 Dodge Challenger concept car created at the Chrysler Group's now defunct Pacifica Studio on the west coast, has now joined Ken Okuyama Design.
As Chief Designer, Castiglione will be tasked with designing products as well as cars once the company establishes itself in an as yet undisclosed location.
"We're really busy with a number of projects that Ken's got going," Castiglione told CDN. The range of projects he will be working on include getting Ken Okuyama's minimalist K.O 7 and K.O 8 cars into production as well as working on non-automotive design projects for Yamagata Koubou (Okuyama's modern furniture brand) and Ken Okuyama-branded eyewear.
Castiglione's move to join Ken Okuyama Design is the latest in what seems to be an emerging trend for young designers to leave large companies for smaller outfits.
"What appealed to me is that I really like Ken and the variety of projects," Castiglione said "It's not just automotive. His potential client base [includes] other transport like aero and trains. It's a really appealing challenge."
A graduate of Art Center College of Design, Castiglione worked on such projects as the Plymouth Pronto Spyder, Jeep Compass and the Chrysler Atlantic concept cars as well as the 300-series production cars over the span of his 15 year-long career at Chrysler. He is also credited for having designed the Jeep Treo concept unveiled at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show - it won't be the first time Castiglione has worked on 'Japanese inspired' vehicles.