Thursday, July 3, 2008

Car body language

Now here's some work that apart from possibly delighting you with immediate beauty, could also make you think about the future of technology and design.

It is known that BMW, like many other companies in the automotive industry, likes to probe into the future and come up with the most extraordinary concept cars. Up to yet though, not one has struck my eye more than their latest gem, called the GINA Light Visionary Model. Based on the Z8 platform, it incorporates not the regular metal bodywork, but one that consists of fabric stretched over a wireframe. This gives the exterior the unique property of being able to physically adapt in a most sensual, organic and expressive way. Car design has already met architecture meets robotics meets fashion. Check out the movie with comments by chief designer Chris Bangle:

Now I've worked with car designers and it is, as often is the case in general, a rather small, self-sustaining culture I must say. It is based on ideas most designers do not seem to question, but that more and more need questioning. One of these is that innovation should be about style, the expression of the car adding to immediate sensory satisfaction, hence seducing the user of the car and  embalming him into identifying himself with the brand. Thus, car design became and still largely is a matter of updating models, giving a nice looking smooth skin to an underlying skeleton and renewing it once in a while according to what is 'fashionable' at the moment.

Still, although GINA shows how the language of car design can gain in vocabulary by including physical behaviour, it is largely based on stylistic arguments. Real vision is not about thinking differently, but about expanding thought qualitatively according to ideas about what is good and what is beautiful. Still it is very interesting how BMW seems to want to make their cars more like social organisms. An idea I would rather promote. Products and people should immerse in a new stage of evolution, each continuously, intimately, and completely co-evolving with one another, inviting each other to live in the now, instead of clinging to mental, symbolic, rigid concepts.

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