SHAPING THE FUTURE.
Inspiring the innovation culture of the BMW Group.
Designworks, a subsidiary of the BMW Group, is a global creative consultancy. Through its experience with clients in diverse industries, Designworks is able to bring external perspectives and creative inspiration to the BMW Group. Designworks also shares its know-how from the complex automotive sector with clients from other industries in joint innovation projects.
Designworks is a global creative consultancy with studios in North America, Europe and Asia.
The consulting agency was closely involved in the design development of the BMW X series, played a key role in the design conception of the BMW i electric brand and is responsible for many of the BMW Group's visionary vehicles, such as the GINA Light Visionary Model.
With locations in Los Angeles, Munich and Shanghai and clients from various industries, the studios offer important insights on global, design-relevant phenomena to the company headquarters.
We are in the middle of a huge transformation that is hitting the entire industry. In the end we will need all our creativity and advanced thinking to come up with the best solutions. But I think with the setup that we have, with Designworks, we have very good chances to be successful.
Senior Vice President BMW Group Design
Did you know …
... that Designworks played a key role in the development of various BMW Group icons? In the 1998 BMW 3 Series, the BMW Z8, all X1, X3, X5 and BMW i3, i8 concept vehicles so far and many more.
... that Designworks implements more than 300 design projects per year for clients from the aviation, rail and consumer electronics sectors?
… that Designworks and its international teams have been shaping the mobility of tomorrow for the past 50 years?
... that American business and innovation magazine Fast Company named Designworks the world’s most innovative design company in 2010?
…that Designworks has established a culture that embraces creative friction? By accepting it as part of the creative process, the teams consciously invite creative tension that must be explored, examined and ultimately resolved. This process yields better, more refined creative output than one with a more harmonious beginning.
Important milestones in the history of Designworks.
designworks – mobility beyond.
With its roots in the industrial design world, Designworks has over the course of more than fifty years established itself as a world-class independent design consultancy that drives innovation. It is owned by BMW Group and is part of the company’s toolbox: an inspiring, thought-provoking studio that splits its workload between BMW Group and external clients. Here, its president Holger Hampf reflects on the studio’s ongoing influence – as well as its role in the future of the ever-changing industry of transportation and mobility.
What would you say are the key values of Designworks today, fifty years after the studio launched?
The most important thing is that we stayed committed to the original plan of Designworks operating as a profit center with a split business model to the BMW Group. Working with external clients brings outside knowledge to the group, opens our horizon and means we do not only orientate towards automotive design.
I think it is more important than ever to understand global trends and global changes at a greater scale while also being very familiar with the transformations happening in the automotive industry. That is something our external clients and partners value as well.
My goal at Designworks is to address the effects of climate change, a growing population and urban density, and to offer a positive outlook and new solutions.
Head of Designworks
How important is this cross-section of different industries you work with?
It’s very important. We are seeing people leading an increasingly digital life, and connectivity is key. What matters to people is having a seamless experience between their professional and their personal life. The automotive industry is still very relevant but it is becoming more of a mobility provider. In order to do so, we have to understand the spaces and places outside of the car too.
Designworks has delivered some very successful work to many different industries in the past - healthcare, sports and consumer electronics – but we are currently in the process of focusing more on mobility-relevant topics. This is really a sweet spot of Designworks and being part of BMW Group is greatly validating our work and point of view. In the future we will be doing a lot more in this area.
So what are the next trends? What is the future of mobility and what is Designworks’ role in it?
The world is moving from an object-centric view to a user-centric view. In the future, the car will connect with a much larger ecosystem of mobility and transportation and still plays a central role in it. But this ecosystem is growing and becoming more complex all the time: People expect to seamlessly use the car to get from a suburban area to the city and then take a train or a bike for the last mile. We want to help make these connections.
Designworks has studios in California, Munich and Shanghai. How important is this world-view?
Very. We opened our Los Angeles studio in 1972, our Munich office in 2000 and set up our third space in Shanghai in 2006. These three locations of Designworks are all strategic picks.
California has such a strong car and innovation culture. It has always been a very important place to gain insights on customer desires and needs. China is becoming a very strong market for BMW, one which is essential to understand from the inside as well.
The headquarters in Los Angeles and our studio in Shanghai both play a vital role informing the BMW Group about trends in these markets. The Munich studio at the same time is tapping into European design culture and serves as a strategic bridge to BMW in our global network. All three studios together give us a very broad perspective.
What is your mission as president of Designworks?
Quite simply, to be provocative in a positive way. My goal at Designworks is to address the effects of climate change, a growing population and urban density, and to offer a positive outlook and new solutions.
Design is a forward-thinking and visionary discipline. At Designworks, we have to react to some of the challenges out there and face them with positive energy. We are operating with a solution-oriented attitude.
Designworks is the design innovation studio for BMW Group. As an independent studio, Designworks stimulates ambitious visions of the future through practical design strategies and explorations.
It pushes future experiences that are as relevant and ambitious as possible. Designworks is ’the architect of future’ –designing for BMW Group and other partners holistic systems that impact and improve the world we live in.
With three global studios, Designworks is a powerful tool supporting the BMW Group to be at the very forefront of design, technology and innovation.