He’s also an undeniably polarising figure in design, in equal measures praised and vilified for his work while serving as chief of design for BMW, a 16-year tenure that ended in 2009, after which he established Chris Bangle Associates. Or one of those early drive-through windows of burger joints where you paid your money through the little window. Controversial designer Chris Bangle leaves BMW. The thoroughly Italian two-door was designed by native Ohioan Chris Bangle, a few short years before he went to work at BMW. There are a lot of unanswered questions about this rolling art project. But, in truth, every design is a car design. Chris Bangle was born in Ravenna (Ohio) in 1956. Chosen over a Pininfarina submission, the Coupé was a cross between retro styling cues like the round tail lights and more contemporary elements such as the diagonal lines above the wheels. His was also the only widely recognizable name on the design team… Second, many of its design elements seeped down to production models in the following years, including the flame surfacing theme. Objectomy would be the key to winning the minds and hearts of new consumers. Christopher Edward Bangle (born on 14 October, 1956 in Ravenna, Ohio), is an American automobile designer. In profile, a continuous line stretched from the hood, above the headlights, through the front wheel and down the side of the car, where it reached its lowest point below the dash before zig-zagging back up. It also has a “suspension system designed by Italian race engineers,” which, again, could mean absolutely anything. It's an electric car made for sitting in traffic in China with friends, as near as we can tell. The original, Italdesign-penned model introduced in 1980 wasn’t replaced until 2003, however. Most auto enthusiasts will be familiar with the name Chris Bangle. Bangle worked closely with Chris Chapman on the original X5. Simply put, there was little wiggle room to try something too new and risk screwing up. Born in Ohio, Bangle began his career in automotive design in 1981 at GM's Opel headquarters in Germany. Chris Bangle On The Problem With Modern Car Designs. As chief of design for the BMW Group, Chris Bangle has overseen cars that have been seen … After attending the University of Wisconsin and graduating from the Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, California), Bangle began his career at Opel in 1981, and then four years later moved on to Fiat, where he designed the brazen Coupe Fiat. Autoweek may earn money from the links on this page. It gave the industry its first look at the so-called flame surfacing that later characterized most of Bangle’s designs. And when he came out, he had created something no one had ever seen, and he said to me, ‘I am liberated.”. “His contributions to the company’s success have been decisive,” BMW wrote in a statement, “and together with his teams he has mapped out a clear and aesthetic route to the future.”. ); it has “excellent crash-test results thanks to the aluminum spaceframe surrounding the batteries” but how about whatever’s surrounding the passengers? Designing a Mini for the new millennium was easier said than done. The E60-generation 5 Series left no one indifferent; people loved it or hated it. We are a family owned construction company in Saint Louis Missouri. If you read about the electric car Chris Bangle presented in 2018, you’ll remember that REDS – … More information on Chris Bangle's resignation and the reasons behind this move. His design consequently never saw the light that awaits at the end of a production line. 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REDS has seating for four adults when it’s moving and five when stopped; it has space for one or two suitcases and the driver’s seat spins around. As the controversial designer prepares to launch a new car, we take a look back at his career so far. Most recently, he has been working with Chinese company, and the first fruits of that will be seen at the 2017 Los Angeles auto show. He came down with a bad flu and he spent three days in his hotel room eating soup -- and drawing what I asked him to draw. After wading through the design speak of the press material we got, it’s not even clear if this will be autonomous or not. The rear deck of that 7-Series, in particular, was referred to by some as “The Bangle Butt.” The name stuck. The designer told him, ‘Every bone in my body refuses to do this.’ He said, ‘I can’t do this,’ and he got sick, literally sick. Still, Bangle and his team ensured it had a look of its own rather than morphing into a smaller rendition of the 5 or 7 Series. The Coupé was Bangle’s most notable project at Fiat. Chris Bangle: I had more than my share of luck no doubt, but luck is also, in the words of that great car designer Vince Lombardi, “When preparation meets opportunity”. Chris Bangle talks about his life with BMW, his own cars, and more. The British brand had lost its factory and its V8 engine during its messy split from sister company Bentley, and it had to adopt a new design identity that wouldn’t upset its notoriously fastidious target audience. Biography The fame of American designer Chris Bangle (1956) is associated with the long period of automobile design (1981-2009), in which he designed numerous models for Opel, Fiat, and BMW characterized by innovation and an ongoing process of revisiting the language of modern automobile design. BMW appointed him as its head of design in October of 1992. BMW’s acquisition of Rolls-Royce in 1998 gave Bangle another division to oversee. The odd-looking 2020 Redspace REDS electric car is Chris Bangle's new automotive project, and in this story, we interview Bangle to get the fully story. The firm was preparing to expand its line-up by entering new segments and returning to segments it had abandoned in the past. It was a tall order – no pun intended. Bangle no longer worked for Fiat when the Coupé made its debut in 1993. The design channeled the Z9 Gran Turismo concept introduced two years earlier, especially out back. Based on the X5, the 2001 X-Coupe concept left an indelible mark on BMW’s design history in two major ways. Up front, the lights fell in line with the ones found on the E46-generation 3 Series. The horizontal vents behind the front wheels paid a discreet homage to the 507. Bangle’s press material claims it has a best-in-class 0-50 kph time but doesn’t say what that time is or what a 0-60 mph might be, assuming it will go 60 mph; range is supposed to be “at the top of its class,” which could mean anything, depending on how you classify the class. His styling themes have generated intense controversy among automotive designers, and have had a polarizing effect with respect to their visual cues. We look forward to actual information and less blah-blah. BMW gave Bangle a clean sheet of paper for the Z9 Gran Turismo concept. Or maybe a Helms Bakery truck, a reference you’d know only if you grew up in Southern California. The X6 gave Bangle’s team a new challenge. Never dull: the car designs of Chris Bangle. But one thing is certain: This ain’t no mainstream anything. ... Bangle was the first American to head design for the German luxury-car maker and had been in charge since 1992. It continued through the rear wheel until it reached the back bumper. Chris Bangle’s hit: 2003 BMW 5 Series (E60) America's Chris Bangle (born 1956) is that rare car designer who has become a household name, at least in BMW-owning households anyway. Chris Bangle. Its proportions were almost identical to the Z3 (and, indeed, every BMW roadster before it) but the finer parts of the design were entirely new. The move raised more than a few eyebrows because it marked the first time BMW put an American in charge of its design department. The company is called Redspace, and the vehicle shown here is its new electric city car. Yes, that’s what Bangle himself said, or at least he is quoted in his own press material as saying that. After attending the University of Wisconsin and graduating from the Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, California), Bangle began his career at Opel in 1981, and then 4 years later moved on to Fiat, where he designed the brazen Coupe Fiat. Its tall trunk lid was subtler than the 7’s. Most frugal model in the Audi A3 range thrills with impressive economy, but it lacks dynamic sparkle, Our first drive of the new Audi A3 in the UK has revealed it to be a good, capable companion if slightly lacking in ambition, This powerful mid-range petrol version of the new A3 comes with a slightly flawed S-Tronic transmission, First drive review: All-new Audi A3 is one of the most rounded cars in this class, Reduced-capacity A3 isn’t as satisfying to use as we’d hoped, Stop-start aids economy, but the price conscious may prefer a VW, Cheapest Audi is fine quality but not that cheap, Entry-level engine doesn't live up to the promise of the rest of the car, Base A3 soft-top is a good car in need of a better engine, Entry-level A3 cab is a strong contender for those wanting style and low running costs. BMW’s design renaissance began with the X5, largely out of necessity. But don’t let that stop you. ... my wife and I started a design company in Italy. As BMW’s bread-and-butter model, the 3 Series got a less radical re-design than its bigger siblings. But for the first time in BMW’s history, and to Bangle’s credit, the 5 and the 7 Series looked markedly different. Autoweek participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. 7. Car design is a ubiquitous but often overlooked art form. BMW: Driven by Design Chris Bangle and his design gurus are the creative engine inside the hottest car company in the world. It also hinted at the turn BMW’s design language could have taken had Bangle remained at the helm of the company’s design department. The REDS is meant not so much for driving as for sitting in traffic, specifically traffic in China. Shortly after leaving BMW, he launched Chris Bangle Associates, a design consultancy that opened up new ways to apply his 30 years of experience designing cars to … Bangle normally went to great lengths to differentiate BMW models from one another, but the first X6 and the second-generation X5 were close to identical when viewed from the front. Airstream Basecamp trailer we tried out last summer. He began sketching in 1990, ultimately creating a striking-looking two-door model on a platform shared with the homely Tipo. He instead joined Samsung in 2012 as the company’s master designer. There was a little Coupé competition between Fiat’s own design team and Pininfarina, and both presented exterior designs to Fiat brass for the new car. CBA was approached by a Chinese firm called the China Hi-Tech Group Corp. to build a car for sitting in Chinese traffic, where 90 percent of the time cars don’t move, we are told in the release. The inventive dashboard layout put the various gauges and switches in individual pods. It was he who took the initiative to break established standards, but like many renowned designers, he started to work on cars at the most romantic spot. Here is how Bangle described the creative process to our sister publication Automotive News (It’ll help if you read it in the accent of Hans und Franz or that guy on SNL who used to say, “Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance”): “He related a story about one of his designers, a veteran stylist whom Bangle asked to do something quite radical. Bangle’s team - which included Frank Stephenson, who also worked on the X5 - successfully conveyed the icon’s essence in an all-new package. In hindsight, some of the Junior’s exterior styling cues (including the headlights and the silhouette) accurately previewed the second generation Corsa, which made its debut in 1992. Bangle acknowledges that his designs do not look good in photographs, suggesting to critics that they should see the cars in real life before judging them on their looks. How Winter Tires Are Different—and Important, 32 Junkyard Backgrounds for Your Zoom Calls, It’s made for the traffic you’re going to be sitting in anyway, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. ... tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products. Bangle was BMW’s head of design at the time and the figurehead for the brand’s styling. In 2009, after functioning as a lightning rod for criticism in seemingly everything he did there, he left BMW and formed Chris Bangle Associates in Turin. The two men briefly worked together at Opel in the early 1980s. While the Z9 concept influenced the E65-generation 7 Series, the born-again 6 Series of 2003 was its most direct descendant in terms of styling. “We aren’t copying anyone else’s design language, not even our own, and I think that makes some people uncomfortable,” Bangle pointed out in an interview with author David Kiley. Presented at the 1999 Frankfurt Auto Show, the carbon fiber-bodied coupe prepared the firm’s design language for the new millennium with a sculpted look that incorporated convex and concave surfaces in equal amounts. It wasn’t merely a scaled-down X5, either. Even though specifics are sorely lacking from this thing, Bangle’s material suggests that it’s coming soon: “It is not a concept car, a research program or a design exercise for an indefinite future; Instead it is the first phase of a program with the aim to start manufacturing in the near term.”. REDS has a distinct look not unlike the Airstream Basecamp trailer we tried out last summer -- if you turned it around and drove it backward. The loathers may have outnumbered the lovers, though a fair vote was never held (and the loathers probably couldn’t tell you the difference between styling and design). Well, Chris Bangle is back, baby! Fittingly, the Z3 also became one of the first BMWs built in the firm’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory. But, sadly, cars don’t run on design rhetoric alone (“… this disturbance only serves to center the eye on the hypnotic trapezoid of color…”). The experience Bangle gained while re-inventing the Mini helped him in future projects outside of the automotive realm. Never at a loss for words, the media quickly coined the term “Bangle butt.”. In fact, the former BMW Group design director stepped so far out on the limb of non-conformity when he pushed through the E65 7 Series (actually penned by current BMW Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk) and the E60 5 Series that it made the board uncomfortable. We use the same process when writing about cars. So did the REDS come from the flu? Bangle’s contributions were limited to the interior, however, and not retained on the production model. Chris Bangle’s REDS brings a new visual language to car design Automotive Design , Concept Cars 11 Dec 2017 Developed by Chris Bangle Associates for CHTC (China Hi-Tech Group Corporation), REDS is a concept that introduces a new generation of EVs designed for megacities. The first-ever 1 Series was one of the additions, and the CS1 previewed what it would look like. For years, CBA designed bottles, buildings and maybe even bocce balls -- everything but cars. Chris Bangle is one of the most iconic and famous automotive designers of all time. By Greg Migliore. We don’t know, but here it is. Others insist his brilliant pencil strokes finally lured BMW out of the styling rut it was stuck in while inspiring scores of rivals to take new design approaches of their own. Bangle unexpectedly resigned from BMW, and stepped out of the automotive industry altogether, in February of 2009. Chris Bangle is not a man in need of an introduction. At some point, you have to manufacture them and make them go forward, turn and brake. You’d better not screw up! Join us as we look back at some of the cars he either drew himself or presided over. How will they do in a crash? The car's toaster-meets-city-bus design is the brainchild of Chris Bangle, a vehicle designer responsible for some of the more daring designs of the last 20 years -- … “Hennessy came to me to do a new VSOP cognac bottle, an iconic form that hadn’t been touched in a long time. 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