In the first episode of TIME Magazine’s look into BMW, we took a look at the history of BMW and how, as a company, BMW is keen on keeping the traditions of the past firmly embedded in its future. In episode two, we take a look into BMW’s, California based, Designworks, a design consultancy firm that helps design future vehicles as well as other technologies using cutting edge techniques.

Design is such an integral part of BMW as a company, whether that be in its automobiles or other projects, such as the bobsleds used by the US Bobsled Team at this past Winter Olympics.


Designworks is just one of the three studios, the other two being in Munich and Shanghai, which have been helping to design multiple projects. Designworks has collaborated with such companies as Panasonic, Thermaltake and B/E Aerospace to design anything from computers to airplane cabins to BMW vehicles. But no matter what kind of project Designworks takes on, the one constant for all of them is the unwavering desire to use the most advanced techniques and technologies to create the most innovative designs on the market.


The beauty about Designworks is the diversity of the projects. With hands in so many different areas of design, it allows for the firm to learn from each and every one and apply that knowledge to future projects, regardless of the genre. This knowledge also comes in handy when designing vehicles, as the inspiration from other projects, and other parts of the world, can help in making a car look and feel fresh, classic and innovative all at the same time. Sandy McGill, the Color and Trim Designer for Designworks, travels the world, looking at every different kind of material or fabric, or even different color variations, to help in creating future automobiles.


There’s also a wonderful blend of technological and old-school techniques employed by Designworks. On one end, it has people using the highest-end machines, like one that cuts entire prototype models out of solid billets of foam to create full-size models that are incredibly accurate. On the other end, they still have people who create full-size models out of clay, like they did back in the old days.

BMW uses these Designworks firms to create the most cutting edge designs for not only automobiles but a variety of different products. This is how BMW keeps its designs fresh and innovative, designs that look toward the future yet still are in keeping with its rich history. Designworks is integral in keeping BMW ahead of its class, in terms of design.

The Time magazine video can be found here.