Still on the fascinating subject of The Car, The Consumer, and the Emotional Link, there’s only one man who elicits as much admiration as loathing for turning Car Design on its head, and stirring emotions.
That gentleman is Chris Bangle, former Head of BMW Design Group, who single-handedly (BMW HQ will acknowledge that, but some die-hard BMW fans beg to differ) changed the design direction (and the good fortune) of not only BMW – the ultimate driving machine – but in the process inspired new car design vocabulary that is being copied by car designers everywhere.
So back to Bangle’s ability to stir emotions… with his comments through his numerous interviews Bangle drops lines like:
“Great Cars are Art”, “Experiencing Cars beyond their functionality”, “Cars should not be viewed merely as products!”, “Transforming thinking about cars from functional to emotional”, “Sensuality”, “The will to need… the will to survive“, “Object of beauty”, “Sculpture”.… just to point out some.
It’s painfully obvious that Bangle thinks in full Reptilian Brain Mode. For the record, this is the most powerful part of the human brain – according to Dr. Paul MacLean – who created the 3-Brain Theory, and split the brain into the three parts by function: Cortex (Logic), Limbic (Feeling), and Reptilian (Instinct).
An excerpt from an his interview with Design & Emotion helps you understand his design philosophy and thinking:
Chris is known for evoking strong reactions. There is even an online petition that tried to stop him from “ruining”? the BMW brand. Nevertheless, BMW sales have never went down and have been increasing steadily. Therefore, it seems there are haters but also (many) lovers of his (and Adrian’s) designs.
Some of the questions seemed to evoke strong emotions with Mr. Bangle. Nevertheless, they are authentic and therefore placed as they were.
In the end, I think it has become an interesting short interview with a very influential design expert and I hope you will all enjoy to read it.
Chris, you are often described as a controversial designer and while I was browsing the web I found about 50% praise and 50% hate. What do you think makes your designs evoke such strong reactions? Is it because of the BMW brand’s long history (the haters are nostalgias enthusiasts) or are the designs really that experimental and provocative?
Passion breeds passion…that is surely the case here . BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce, these are all marques with great emotional content. This is good!!! No one would want it any other way. But this does not guarantee that a real dialogue takes place, and the internet is a particularly skewed medium to try and take straw polls from. As a journalist you too know these dangers…would any organization rely on uncontrolled ballot stuffing to discern the true representative opinion of a constituency? In the final analysis our customers vote with their pocketbooks, and, for example in the case of the often discussed BMW 7 Series, it is the best selling 7 of all time. Of course there are thousand of other factors at work, but we are not interested in provocation here, we are dedicated to giving our customers and our shareholders the best products possible, period.