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Car designers round the world voted the Aston Martin Rapide and the Cadillac Converj as their favourite designs for 2009, and their creators received awards during the Geneva Motor Show last week.

The two cars won Best Production and Best Concept categories respectively of the Car Design of the Year Awards. They are particularly respected in the design community as accolades from peers, and were chosen from shortlists of the best designs from 2009 as compiled by the senior Editors of Car Design News.

The Awards were presented at the Car Design Night event at La Sip nightclub in Geneva last week, on the first evening of the motor show.

Accepting the award for the beautiful Rapide sedan, Aston Martin Design Director Marek Reichman thanked the designers who voted for the vehicle "on behalf of a team that is very passionate about the brand".

The Rapide's elegant, sporting proportions are combined with emotional surfaces and exquisite detailing, and it narrowly edged out the Ferrari 458 Italia to first place in the production category. Of the ten cars on the shortlist, the Porsche Panamera was the least favourite among the designers who voted.

The Cadillac Converj concept was by GM's Advanced Design Studio in Europe under then Design Director Simon Cox. Accepting the award, Malcolm Ward, Exterior Chief Designer for mid-size cars at GM Europe, emphasised the global nature of today’s design teams by being “very proud to receive this on behalf of the team and I know the team in Detroit are also very proud to receive it".

The Converj concept introduced a cab-forward stance and softened Cadillac's now iconic angular design aesthetic, while the interior featured environmentally sustainable and renewable materials.

Voting was again close, and the Converj had a narrow lead over the Infiniti Essence concept. Least favoured from the 10-car shortlist was the Citro?«n Revolte.

Car Design Night is a networking and social evening where designers can relax and mingle with food and drink in an informal setting. It has become a regular feature of the Geneva Motor Show, attracting the most senior design chiefs and making invitations to the urban chic nightclub among the hottest tickets in town.

The event was supported by premier sponsor Dinamica, maker of the vehicle fabric of the same name, by gold sponsors Syncoor and Uedelhoven Studio, both independent design studios specialising in automotive, and by silver sponsors Artware, Autodesk, Bridge of Weir, CognoLink, Concept Group, Design Consulting and Gurit.

The next Car Design Night will take place in Beijing on 23 April, on the eve of the first Auto China show press day.

Beijing is also the venue for the third Interior Motives China Conference (held just prior to the auto show on 21-22 April), and the location for the announcement of the winners of the first Car Design Awards China, which celebrate the best of student design talent in that country.

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