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Lecture time with Chris Bangle

Interesting | November 17th, 2009 by 48

Recently, Chris Bangle, ex-Chief of Design at BMW, attended a fundraiser event as a guest speaker. He spoke about his design philosophy and sat down …

Recently, Chris Bangle, ex-Chief of Design at BMW, attended a fundraiser event as a guest speaker. He spoke about his design philosophy and sat down to chat with the folks over at MotoBullet.

Here is an excerpt from their article:

“Bangle joined the Wolfsonian for a weekend-long celebration of the car as rolling sculpture. While this idea has been used many times before, the Wolfsonian Museum provides the perfect backdrop to emphasize there is life in industrial design. Located in the art-deco nucleus that is Miami, the Wolfsonian specializes in showing there is personality in bricks, mortar, and metal.

It’s easy to understand why Bangle doesn’t see polarizing elements as design setbacks. He embraces unique vehicles that incorporate elements that go beyond simple function. Life and personality is what he is looking for in his designs. Bangle speaks with enough affection for unique car designs that finishing a car is like creating a child. He gives it unconditional love, flaws and all.
Lecture time with Chris Bangle

But Bangle admits that modern cars don’t just live in a vacuum of design, and they must adapt to the reality of the situation. For example, he explains the creation of the Bangle Butt as largely due to: “The reality of engines pushed the hood up 6 cm, and that caused a chain reaction all the way to the end of the car.” In the final product, even the compromises of reality don’t dilute the art of a well-designed car. Bangle believes that when love and passion go into a design, they breathe life and personality into that inanimate object, turning it into “the biggest sculpture ever.”

This life/art balance is where Bangle feels most at home, and his comfort has led to exploring new boundaries. He made the Gina concept car out of fabric so the body could contour instantly to new shapes, including creating a winking feature for the headlights. He has also utilized paper origami to incorporate into sheet metal car bodies.

Article continued here

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

    Bangle did a disservice to to BMW and the BMW community by designing what he did. I truly feel sorry for all the extra work Adrian van Hooydonk has to put in so as to smooth out Bangle’s designs (all though I don’t fully agree with the current design of some the platforms).

    • Lance

      The current 7′s pig nostrils are disguisting!

  • Yves

    It’s dreadful how so many sites, mags and so-called BMW fans are ignorant to the fact that BMW with design took a gigantic leap over all competitors and the design world itself with those ground breaking models. For the record, the controversial cues came from van Hooydonk himself (Z9 concept, 6er, 7er). Bangle, as any Design Director oversees the processes and the teams i.e. Mini, Rolls Royce and the Motorrad division. BMW, keep those avant-garde models coming! Instead of ‘more agreeable’ designs to appease the lay person.

    • lennardt

      ..and that’s it!

    • Fedaykin528e

      Amen. Love it or hate it, Bangle at BMW redefined the automotive industry. Seriously. I’m sick of people bashing Bangle. Look everywhere! It’s all because of flame surfacing. Really avant-garde stuff (Simple creases? Eyebrows? Rising lines? More?) It was definitely not concurrent with BMW’s old quiet image, but the ripple is still running. Sorry for the poorly written post, I’m semi-ranting.

  • oney

    Does anyone recognise this car in the background? Could it be the new 6 series?

    • efoza

      No it is the two door version of the GT which may be on the market in 2012.

  • efoza

    I agree with Yves 100%. I am now a little worried about the new designs which are modest and boring. I have seen the actual new 5 series and it is dead boring to look at. This is why everyone at BMW HQ (apart from the misguided management) is worried about Audi and its ability to make cars which are not as good as BMWs but look a lot better in terms of design.

    BMW management should wake up and get back to agreeing to advanced designs – once again.

  • efoza

    Mike Messer is misguided. Why do you think Benz Audi, Porche and even Lexus were all happy to see him leave BMW? It was for reason of fearing the success of his designs.

  • naseef369

    can anyone recognise the car behind him in the photo???could it be the 3er gt????

    • jmlbmw

      That’s the new 6-series design

    • Fedaykin528e

      CS Concept from a couple of years ago.

  • ArtVandelay

    Anybody saying Bangle did BMW a disservice hasn’t looked around lately…nearly every model of new sedan since he was universally panned for how he redesigned the 7 bears some of his design cues. Do you folks realize that Camry’s and even Hyundais now mimic Bangle’s lines. Heck, mercedes has practically ripped off BMW designs since bangles arrival.

    BMWs slow move away from Bangles designs is crazy, and will result in the competition catching up if not passing the brand design wise. Remember bangle was brought in to shake up a tired design, he did that, and also improved the bottom line. Why so called BMW “purists” dislike him for that is beyond me. Unfortunately it seems BMW execs are listening to them.

    Love him or hate him Bangle will go down as a car design great if for nothing else his influence on the industry alone.

  • oney

    nope, it’s concept CS

  • Artmic

    i’ m also a little worried about the new 5, don’t get me wrong, i hate the current 5, but at the same time i have this feeling the new 5 series will look very plain.

    I wish they would make the rings in the headlights LED, so that Audi doesn’t have the catchiest headlights out there at the moment IMO

  • Joe

    Bangle was and always will be a legend in my eyese. He ushered in a new era of design and I know he will be missed at BMW.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

    For the record (efoza and ArtVandelay), I am a BMW purist and I DO commend Bangle for changing the industry. But what I don’t like are his designs. I don’t believe that if everyone is going to “jump off a bridge” it’s necessarily the right thing. Modern designs just don’t look right to me; it seems like a evolutionary step (or 2) was missed and now designers are trying to either go backwards or to far ahead to change what’s already pre-existing. Just my 2 cents.

    • efoza

      point taken BUT grand designs are a must and the new 5 is a worrying sign. it is dead boring

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

        That’s why I’m sticking with my ’03 325xi.

        • efoza

          Yes BMW has always been about being modern and moving forward. It prides itself against being the same old design. So the fact that you are sticking with your OLD 03 325xi is a worry for ALL BMW fans who like to move forward and want new designs rather than to cherrish our old designs.

          Look at the GT. it is a great car and most likely the best car BMW has built for years, but now that Bangle has gone, I doubt we will get another such great model designed for years. The GT will go down in history as the greatest goodbye by the greatest designer BMW has had for years.

          • auday

            “sticking with your OLD 03 325xi is a worry for ALL BMW fans ”
            lol, it’s not a worry for me… I’d stick with E30 if I have one, older Bimmers are priceless

            the GT? really? if you said th new Z4 I understand but the GT? I guess it’s a matter of persoanl taste at the end…

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

            If you’re referring to the 5 series GT, I would have to strongly disagree with you. The only recent cars that BMW has made (in my opinion) are the 1 coupe, 3 coupe, and the original z4 coupe. Design-wise and functionality-wise, I’d currently purchase the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe over a 3 or 1 (especially because of the economic crisis). And I have personally test driven all 3 on auto-cross tracks.
            Where auday said, “I’d stick with E30 if I have one, older Bimmers are priceless.” I’d have to fully agree with him. If I could I’d get a E36 M3 coupe, a E46 330ci ZHP, or a E31 850csi (granted the last of the 3 is a different class of car).

  • auday

    I think the complaint is not about making outstanding controversial designs, it’s about the nature of the controversy itself. Bangle’s era designs were fat, high, and ugly (at least to many people who admired BMW designs before Bangle), the sleek sporty looking nature of BMWs was shattered by those monstrous cars led by the E65.
    The CS is controversial and a new fresh design… everyone loves it though. Even the 8er in it’s time was a bit controversial yet most people liked it.

  • wazon8

    Surely, there are Bungle’s desings (5-er E60 and 3-er E92) that I admire a lot and that will look fresh (in some sense) for long time. Both cars belong to class of the best BMWs ever made IMO.

    On the other hand, recent BMW’s designers do great job eighter, it’s enough to look at Z4 2009 or some renderings of M5 F10. Up to now I didn’t find nothing that would be made by recent designers and would really disappointed me in real life circumstances. BTW, That’s really interesting that all BMWs look better in real than on photos.

  • Turistas

    To Mike Mess..
    Like you, i am also a BMW purist and liked the older elegant design of the subtle aggressive shapes of e39, e46, etc. Bangle did push the envelope with flame surfacing. flame surfacing can be good within a controlled and yet elegant shape (see x5 during bangle years). I also happen to be one of thousands that signed a petition to fire him so i’ll leave it at that.

    the F10′s newer and softer flame surfacing are what should have been done 6 yrs ago IMHO. change is good, the question is how much change to push at once?

  • Jl328i

    I feel kinda bad for the guy, IMO he revolutionized the automotive design industry, and hes taken a lot of negative critisism. i think he was just a little to ahead of his time. I look at new cars these days and see many bangle design elements and think to myself how scrutinized he was in the BMW world. Hopefully BMW designs dont take a turn for the worse without him.

  • Paul

    @ Mike Messer. I think you’re quite simply mad, off your trolley. You wouldn’t know good design if it smacked you in the face with a wet kipper.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

      All I’ll say is look at my input on the 7er and 1er re-design and then rethink what you said.

  • P.wong

    yves i agree with you, bangle did so much for bmw and vice versa. bmw always made decent cars but only car afficionados knew it. hell, it was rare single out a bimmer outta the crowd. with bmw progressively making more reliable cars and the avalanche of technology, bangle just added that crazy outta da blue blowing design, that turned heads and got more people into bimmers. hell the 5,6,7 series are very big sellers and have u looked at others automakers’ deseigns, from mb to hyunda lol…so give the man props

    • Ale

      Well said P.wong!

  • efoza

    Those who are complaining of Bangle’s designs, answer these two questions: Why have the X6, X5, the outgoing 5,6, 3 and 1 Series been voted by experts to be the best cars in their class? Why have they been best sellers in their class? I rest my case!

    • auday

      efoza, it’s not that basic. Those cars were picked for the technology mainly, not for their designs, actually the media, the magazines, the shows and the fans were mainly critical of most of BMW designs from E65 on.
      However we have to admit that his weird designs that speak grandiose power and domination helped bringing more people (who use their cars as a message of their social status) into the brand but they did upset lots of fans who see the older BMW design language to be sleek, agile, and elegant and they feel that Bangle completely shattered that essence.

      • efoza

        Thats interesting Auday, but given that I have been a BMW fan and owner for more than 16 years, how do you explain my reasons for wanting something from BMW which is in accord with the modern day rather than an old ‘sleek, agile and elegant’ design as you put it?

  • Timur

    The great designer. Auto industry will remember him as a breakthrough designer that inspired many other carmakers as well

  • efoza

    There is a saying in the motor industry which says: The greater the design, the greater the debate!

    Given the great debate on this thread about Bangle, we can all therefore conclude that his designs were great.

    If you have any doubts, just check out the photos of the new 5 series on Auto Express (UK magazine) which will be published tomorrow. You may already be able to see it online. I am not sure.

  • efoza

    Look at this:
    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/autoexpressnews/245029/bmw_plays_it_smooth_with_5series.html

    This is what happens to our poor old BMW when the great Bangle era comes to an end. It is dead boring.

    • wazon8

      The great thing about this rendering is that it doesn’t have too much in common with real thing. I don’t see neither this shape of headlights in spy photos (especially headlights from spy photos don’t have such sharp angels), nor their deep settle relatively to grill. This rendering is poor imagination at best.

    • ArtVandelay

      I pray this is not the actual 5. If so, purists rejoice, you have your grandfather’s BMW back.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

        I also pray that that is not the actual car. But as wazon8 stated, “The great thing about this rendering is that it doesn’t have too much in common with real thing.” It’s just a rendering.

  • viper

    that car in the background is 6 series 4 door version , which none cars about since its not going to built or it will….in the year 2022

    • Horatiu

      It’s actually the CS Concept, a clay model. Great lines though!

  • X5SoB

    Man, you guys have gotten your panties way too up in a bunch. Can’t we all just agree to disagree? There will always be the two camps on BMW style, the conservatives and the progressives, but the fact is, the buying pubic has spoken, and overwhelmingly voted in favor of Bangle design. End of discussion.
    Now, about his clothing…

    • X5SoB

      Public, not pubic…

      • X5SoB

        The E60 was the best of the Bangle inspired designs, and its style was widely copied by the automotive industry, just look at the current Camry and Accord. The F10 looks to be an evolutionary step backwards, which really is too bad. BMW was able to avoid the styling miasma that afflicted Jaguar, Jaguar’s XJ and S-Type(and X-Type) were widely heralded by the automotive press as “Classic” and “Timeless”, and the buying public stayed away in droves. The 7, 6, and 5 were called “Ugly” and “Awkward” by the automotive press, and the buying public voted with their wallets. Just goes to show, “Experts” are frequently full of shit.

  • Beemer

    I really love Bangles designs. The original Z4 in particular. The lines are just awesome!! truly a car far ahead of it’s time.

  • efoza

    The AutoExpress photos in the UK mag are NOT renderings. You have been warned. We are about to be taken back in time by BMW’s new boring, post Bangle, design game. What a foolish game!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ArtVandelay

      Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  • efoza

    I have just seen one of the new 5 series test cars on the road and it is not as bad as I thought. It is not as good as it should be in looks but it sure looks like a solid car. Put it this way, the new GT turns heads and gets people admiring it in the flesh whereas this just gets looks. You can almost sense the on lookers saying: “Oh look, it is the new 5 series”; whereas with the GT they say: “WOW look, it is the new BMW GT”! This tells you something about Bangle’s positive contribution in the GT.

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