PERSPECTIVES | We built a design culture.

Yeah, him.  Chris Bangle.

Vilified, and…. well, pretty much vilified.

But mostly when you read the comments in forums. I’m sure BMW’s board of directors thinks much differently.

For me, his work was a driving, defining sense of hope.


Watch this.

“What I believe we’re doing is something that’s created out of our emotions, and, if we can stay with that that in our designs, so that somehow, somehow you know that that person cares about that,

…that first experience.”

In a pre-constantly-connected world, the printed articles that I’d read always turned into a verbal fight between old and new, with neither side recognizing which was the right way to go.

And, worse, neither saw that the right answer is: yes. 

It’s about past and future, not past vs. future.

“The world is about creating.”

Much of the criticism around that time (late 90s-early 2000s) came from things like the X-Coupe concept which, in its slashed surfaces and asymmetry, was derided as “disharmonious.” And of course:  it was, in some ways. And that was a good thing.  This truckish concept effectively previewed the Z4, which came three years later. Much the same way that 1999’s Gran Turismo concept previewed both the upcoming 6 and 7 series cars.  And let’s not forget GINA, which was begun in 2000-2001, but wasn’t made public until 2008. And that disharmony, that disruption, was in fact the whole point– shake up conventional thoughts about what cars and personal transportation should be. If it takes some funky surfacing to start that conversation, then so be it. Gotta start somewhere.

For you students out there, Chris Bangle Design Associates is running a contest, based on a three-part story that he’s written, and the deadline is 30 March. Can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Love or hate his aethetic desicions, you can’t argue with the numbers. He did his job very, very well. While I’m in no way a huge fan of everything that came out of the Bangle era at BMW, he’s always been a source of inspiration and challenge.

This article from 2008 pretty much sums it up.



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