Design insight: New BMW 7 Series

We are in Munich at BMW Welt, as in World, designed by the avant-garde Austrian architect Coop Himmelb(l)au as a hybrid of car showroom, entertainment venue and conference centre. Completed in 2007, it is now the second most visited site in the city. It is easy to see why. This is a fantastical structure of glass and steel that protrudes majestically up and into the clouds simultaneously sings to its neighbouring sites the Olympiapark and BMW... Read More

Vertical cities and urban villages

Can the car be more than a vehicle that takes you from A to B? This has been a subject much discussed in recent years. I remember talking endlessly with Chris Bangle, the former design boss at BMW, on this very subject – something that has been at the core of his design thinking (remember GINA?) – at a time when few car companies dared or even cared to venture into anything that signified a real change from the conventional automobile.... Read More

Giles Taylor on the Rolls-Royce Wraith

The Rolls-Royce Wraith references the glamour of old Hollywood with the elegant Deco inspired sweep of its long fastback body – think Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s most stylish of movies To Catch a Thief. Displaying this Ghost-based coupé seems to be a self-conscious separation by the marque from the supercar power struggle that dominated the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in March, where this car was first revealed to us. This... Read More

Designer talk: Luc Donckerwolke

‘I must say I didn’t expect it. I made a move from Seat to Volkswagen just a year ago and I was thinking of staying when I got the call in July. I had to tell my wife we are not going to be buying curtains for our new house in Berlin,’ Luc Donckerwolke tells me as we settle down for coffee at his new offices in Crewe. The call in question came from Bentley, asking Luc to replace Dirk van Braeckel and head up the main design studio in the... Read More

Infiniti: The seductive alternative

It is the era of ‘challenger brands’ – smaller companies that confront powerful firms by simply being individual, fun – almost irreverent. Opting for a strong narrative that portrays almost a human touch, they are gaining customer respect especially at a time when big brands equal big money, and the greed associated with the current economic slump. Apple is one of the most successful challenger marques, its boss Steve Jobs... Read More

Alfonso Albaisa on Nissan electric car design

Alfonso Albaisa, design director at Nissan in America, discusses electric car design, the future of clean mobility and his take on the zero-emission sports car. Design Talks Should zero-emission cars have their own unique architecture and formal language? Alfonso Albaisa They are finding their own unique architecture. The formal language, however, is more of a conscious effort – it’s the intentional part. The zero emission car doesn’t... Read More

Car design trends from Paris Motor Show 2010

The mood at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris could be summarised in the few words uttered by Peugeot’s design director Gilles Vidal. ‘We are going through big changes in the automotive world,’ the visionary French designer said as he guided me though 200 years of Peugeot’s research and development displayed on the stand. ‘Progress in this area won’t only be through engines and technological solutions, but about making our... Read More

In talk with Chris Bangle

Chris Bangle has kept a rather low profile since he abruptly left his position at BMW where he became one of the world’s most influential car designers. He has given few interviews since, but we caught up with the controversial designer at his self-built house and consultancy outside Turin to see what he has been up to since departing from the Bavarian marque last March. Bangle does not shy sway from the truth. He knows that he has set... Read More