Chris Bangle: Great cars are Art



Many people dislike Chris Bangle’s work, but to me he is perhaps one of the best design managers there is. In fact I wrote him an email once about design management, but he never replied. Regardless, take a look at this talk he gave at TED in Feb 2002 (strange that it’s only now posted) where he spoke about the lessons he had learnt managing designers. Basically creating cars (or designs) is about Art, and Art is about Love. Dealing with something people love has all that emotional baggage that comes along with it. I think all designers should watch this and learn, as there are many design managers out there who just don’t get this part about managing designers.

8 Comments
  • drew kora

    April 23, 2007 at 11:18 pm Reply

    Thanks for the video link. I’m a German car fanatic. I’m a big VW/Audi fan for the most part, but I do love BMW. The E30 M3 (c.1989) is prehaps my favorite car of all time, if not for it’s performance for it’s perfect square boxy shape. I think the designs of BMWs since then have been very nice…especially the e46 3-series…M3 especially of course.
    OK, so along comes Chris bangle and his curvy bloated forms. I really disliked the new cars…especially the 6-series. what an atrocity. However, as with many things, the more you see something the more it gets in your head and you start to see the beauty. These days Bangle’s cars are a love-hate relationship for me. I really really like the new 3-series. The 4-door 330i’s in black are beautiful and the 335i coupe is nera automotive perfection. The 5-series has it’s good angels and bad, and the 7-series is one big bad machine (I like both tail light versions that came out for it). I don’t care how bloated it looks, the thing can haul. I still don’t like the 6-series. Did I mention what a bloated atrocity it is?
    OK OK. So here I’m judging his work. Aside from that, I do respect his vision and I really like the way it has progressed from vehicle to vehicle. However he’s doing it, he’s doing a good job.
    At the end of the day, though, I much prefer the simple understated elegance of an Audi. The simple lines, the perfect interiors…the lines of an Audi A8 or an S4 are aggressive, sporty, elegant, and calm all at the same time.

  • drew kora

    April 24, 2007 at 12:53 am Reply

    …ok, so I’m my commetns above were a knee-jerk reaction to Chris Bangle. I spend waaaay too much time over on TheCarLounge.net and Chris Bangle is always a hot topic. So OK, thinking about what he said in the video…he’s pretty awesome.
    Thinking of Design and Love being very similar terms makes so much sense. That’s something I think I’ll remember for some time. I really appreciate the need for trust and that progress of a good design or concept can’t always be quantified with x-amount of drawings.
    I don’t lead a team of designers, but if/when I do I think I’ll retain this concept. It seems to work. Despite my own tastes, the work coming from BMW is incredible…on the artistic side and the engineering side.

  • Design Translator

    April 24, 2007 at 12:27 pm Reply

    That was my initial reaction as well. Before I personally met him, I asked what does he have to offer as a designer? This is especially after the first time I saw the BMW 7 series and hated it. However after having breakfast with him, it turns out that he has plenty to offer.
    This presentation is only a small window into his mind. Sadly he did not continue our conversation via email, perhaps he got pissed off cos I thought he came from Renault. He actually started his career in Fiat.

  • hunn

    April 25, 2007 at 2:45 pm Reply

    I love what TED is doing!
    Oh and Happy Birthday DT! have a super one!

  • Design Translator

    April 25, 2007 at 5:09 pm Reply

    Hey Hunn,
    Great to hear from you and thanks for the Birthday wishes.

  • zxerokool

    April 29, 2007 at 4:33 am Reply

    This was a great watch, thanks for sharing.

  • PY

    April 30, 2007 at 5:28 pm Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful post and video.Watching this video is inspiring me to read more books on car design now, and relook at car design from a different perspective.
    I’ve been having problems opening this web page, so I’m glad that I can finally enjoy reading this article and this video today!!

  • Design Translator

    April 30, 2007 at 9:39 pm Reply

    Hi zxerokool and py, thanks for visiting and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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