BMW Group’s Designworks is expanding its footprint with a new location in Shanghai. The studio is positioned in the West Bund district and is being inaugurated this weekend as part of a wider array of festivities for the West Bund Art & Design Fair Shanghai. Shanghai therefore joins Munich and Los Angeles where there are Designworks studios. With the new facility, Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design declared: “We are turning the eyes and ears of the BMW Group towards Asia.”
Approximately 50 people will be working at the new site on products not just for the BMW Group but also for other external clients. Interestingly, the employees will be tasked to create important design elements that will be implemented in future electric vehicles developed specifically for the Chinese market on the Neue Klasse platform.
Chinese expertise can already be found in BMW products considering the new long-wheelbase 5 Series Sedan has been developed to cater to local tastes. Codenamed G68, the elongated 5er is touted as having a profile “reminiscent of a Gran Coupe,” albeit the roofline is not as sloped as on Bavaria’s swoopy sedans. Offered with combustion engines alongside the fully electric i5, the roomier luxury sedan is assembled at the Dadong factory in Shenyang, a car plant operated by the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture in which BMW has a 75% share.
Bear in mind Designworks isn’t working solely on cars as it has other projects beyond the automotive spectrum. BMW’s own creative think tank has been involved in a variety of products, from flying taxis to airplane seats. It has also worked on products for the USOC Paralympic teams as well as for John Deere. Also worth mentioning is the interior and exterior design work for high-speed trains for CRRC, a state-owned and publicly traded rolling stock manufacturer in China. In terms of revenue, it’s the biggest rolling stock manufacturer in the world.
Other interesting projects benefiting from Designworks’ involvement have included the TECNO Spark 9 Pro smartphone, the Skyworth BM series of home appliances, the cabin of the Starlux A350 plane built by Airbus, and lifestyle accessories for Bentley.