The creative workshop Designworks was established in 1972 by legendary industrial designer Charles ‘Chuck’ Pelly, and was later acquired by BMW in 1996—which proved instrumental in the design of several mass-produced vehicles. Maintaining its relentless search for the true ‘better’ for over five decades, the innovation studio has now grown into an international design consultancy that operates worldwide, with offices in Munich, Germany, and Shanghai, China. The goal? Create innovative products and experiences and bring forward unique brand values. As a BMW Group subsidiary, Designworks is involved in many internal design projects with the German multinational manufacturer BMW, but also with external clients from numerous other industries—ranging from transportation via air, land, and sea, to consumer electronics and interior spaces. If BMW has always been triggered by innovation, Designworks’ mission has always been shaping the future of mobility and design. “Every day, we stride forward, stepping further into the great unknown,” says Hampf. “At times, beyond what seems rational and reasonable, and very likely beyond our own hesitations.”
If setting ambitious developments in motion sounds exciting, bringing those to life distinguishes the studio from other market competitors. “Designworks can do a lot of free-thinking about the future, but we also produce a wide range of vehicles,” notes van Hooydonk. With around 300 projects a year, Designworks comprises a team of architects with future-based visions and dedicated craftsmen with the skills to realize much of the visionary work envisioned on the many screens of this very space. Most importantly, the studio is catering not only to BMW but also to a wide variety of other companies. “Designworks is not just our eyes and ears to the world, it is also a door to the world; where people and start-ups can come in to engage with the BMW Group,” says van Hooydonk. With a successful model of simultaneous integration and independence, Designworks has exciting partnerships with a range of players in the industry. Despite a predominant focus on mobility—from seating solutions to flying vehicles, to agricultural machinery and electric charging stations—assignments go beyond the automotive world, to include interiors, phone designs, and intelligent personal assistants. “Designworks gives us a unique perspective that goes beyond the automotive industry, in the vast field of design,” notes van Hooydonk.