03 February 2009

Bye Bye Bangle

BMW design chief quits the car industry to ‘pursue his own design-related endeavours’

Chris Bangle

Ladies and gentlemen, the flame (surfacing) has finally gone out. BMW design chief Chris Bangle is quitting the German manufacturer to ‘pursue his own design-related endeavours beyond the auto industry’.

The American designer joined BMW in 1992 and is best known for introducing ‘flame surfacing’ (or ‘weird angular concave surfaces’) and the ‘Bangle Butt’ (or ‘funny double-layered bootlids’) to the company’s designs.

Bangle designed the current 3- and 5-Series, the successful last-gen 7-Series, as well as the Z3, X3 and X5. He also oversaw the design of the BMW-owned Minis and Rolls-Royces. Oh, and the 1-Series, for which many BMW faithful have still not forgiven him.

Despite the love-it-or-really-really-hate-it nature of Bangle’s cars, the 52-year-old is widely regarded as one of the most influential designers of the last 20 years.

He will be succeeded as BMW Group design chief by Adrian van Hooydonk, the BMW head of design who has been closely involved in creating the upcoming Progressive Activity Sedan, as well as the rather lovely CS concept car.

But today is all about Bangle – or rather the end of Bangle. Are you cheering heartily or sobbing into your laptop?

And, just as a side note, where do you reckon he’s going to go next? They say ‘beyond the auto industry’, but is the world really ready for a boom in flame-surfaced toasters and strangely voluptuous kettles?

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