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http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/top/story/0,4136,80541-1,00.html

Design the BMW way Good design is not just about applying the usual aesthetic principles or giving people something they are familiar with. Infographics journalist MINDY TAN finds out some effective design tips from BMW Group's design director HE is the man responsible for BMW's radical 'flame-surfacing' design found in their latest models.

And now, Singapore wants his help in firing up the local design scene.

Mr Christopher Bangle, BMW group's design director, is one of eight prominent international designers recruited by the Design Singapore Council to help mould Singapore into a major international
design hub.

How can local designers start to be dynamic, and in turn generate big bucks?



A PEEK INTO BMW STUDIOS

Ideas and conceptual drawings are made until the design is finalised.
For accuracy, the initial design is transferred to a software for more realism. Curves and details are adjusted.

A model of the car is made. Aerodynamic tests are conducted.
The car is finally given a physical form through a life-sized clay model. This replicates the emotional 'feel' of the car. The sculptor gets his input from the designer, sketches and engineering data.
BANGLE'S THREE STEPS TO DESIGN

1. BREAK THE MOLD

Today's automated assembly systems allow the car to breed like rabbits.

You can make lots of them, but they end up looking the same.

And in the 1990s, even BMW was guilty of producing models that did not stand out from the masses.

The lesson here: Don't let the process dictate the design.

''Design was one of the problems, not one of the solutions,'' said Mr Bangle.

''We were in a paradigm. The design was not moving and we ourselves were reinforcing a static issue.''

2. FIND YOUR STRATEGIES

Mr Bangle cites cultural transfer as one of Singapore's advantages, likening the country to a crossroad where many cultures meet.

And as these cultures interact, our design strengths will be unleashed. Another message for designers is to think about uniting industry and humanism (the artist).

They should think about how others react not only rationally, but emotionally to design as well.

Just like how a well-designed car tugs at the heart-strings of a buyer, so should the design of other products.

3. LEVERAGE YOUR RESOURCES

Design should be a two-way street with the designer at one end and the consumer at the other.

That's why Mr Bangle feels that the consumers should be made to understand the design process, so that designers are forced to take their designs to the next level.

In other words, the consumer should not be the target of designers, but should take command of them.

Said Mr Bangle: ''We must constantly say 'It's not enough for us to play this game. We want to be part of the group to go beyond'.

''I think Singapore is the spot where the democratisation of design can take hold.

''Because in doing so it will raise the bar and raise the standards of design for everybody.''

 

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You know, what is funny, or ironic about the whole thing is we are starting to see more and more of the latest BMW designs in other cars. Perhaps Bangle/BMW are not that far from the mark.

More cars are coming out with bold designs that are much different than their traditional designs. I think it is a pretty exciting time.
 

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This is true- or is it because this generation of designers comes from schools preaching the same things? Or the use of computers has allowed them to go beyond just aerodynamics and safety? Hard to tell.

Now as to the consumers understanding the design- they must be joking. They dumped these radical designs out there with little explanation. Even Dr. Panke, the guy who Bangle works for, said as much. And as for wanting to discuss with the consumer, Dr. Panke has said they are not interested in such discussions. I believe the quote was "We chart our own course". To which I say "you're lucky the cars drive so well".

Still an interesting interview.
 

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At the risk of turning this (again and again) into another Bash Bangle's Bungle discussion, all I would like say is that I'm seeing more car makers taking on some design cues of Bangles'. I saw the new 2005/2006 Lexus GS, as attached below. Sure as anything, it looks like a long wheel base 7 series. Bangle once said something about "a new golden age" of car designs, well, let's wait and see.
 

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I agree with your observation. Look at the new Acura RL- it also has a nod to the 7 rear. Supposedly the new MB S class has this too. But, just as BMW was a leader into this current trend, so too will they be a leader out...
 

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MEnthusiast said:
This is true- or is it because this generation of designers comes from schools preaching the same things? Or the use of computers has allowed them to go beyond just aerodynamics and safety? Hard to tell.

Now as to the consumers understanding the design- they must be joking. They dumped these radical designs out there with little explanation. Even Dr. Panke, the guy who Bangle works for, said as much. And as for wanting to discuss with the consumer, Dr. Panke has said they are not interested in such discussions. I believe the quote was "We chart our own course". To which I say "you're lucky the cars drive so well".

Still an interesting interview.
Computers of course have made a significant contribution, but plastics is the material of the modern car. It can inexpensively be shaped into those aerodynamic curves we admire so much. Look at any car today and imagine how difficult it would be without the advance of plastics to manufacture it.
 

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Jim Dolan said:
Computers of course have made a significant contribution, but plastics is the material of the modern car. It can inexpensively be shaped into those aerodynamic curves we admire so much. Look at any car today and imagine how difficult it would be without the advance of plastics to manufacture it.
I read an interview where Fisker said the Aston Martin DB9 deliberately avoided plastic wherever possible. Metals are used instead, particularly for the drive interface/controls etc. They have done an excellent job.
 

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I think both of you make valid points. One thing to note also is computer aided design + manufacturing now allow auto makers to build in a variety of materials and using techniques never before considered feasible. I think as the European pedestrian crash standards come into effect, we will see more and more cars with plastic- or other flexible material- hoods as a way to help protect pedestrians.
 
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