BMW Group DesignworksUSA celebrates 40 years

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Photography by: BMW Group
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BMW Group DesignworksUSA celebrates 40 years of creativity and looking into the future. Founded in 1972 by internationally renowned designer Charles W. Pelly, DesignworksUSA opened in Malibu, CA with only three designers and grew out of Southern California’s trail-blazing design trends that took root in a vibrant car culture. Right from the beginning, projects had a vision to the future beginning with projects for BMW, Nokia, Compaq, Siemens and Adidas. In 1995, DesignworksUSA was acquired by BMW Group. Today, BMW Group DesignworksUSA continues to look to the future and is striving to be the leading creative consultancy for the next 40 years.

“Throughout the last 40 years, we have used future thinking and cross-fertilization to create significant solutions for practically every industry,”said Laurenz Schaffer, President, BMW Group DesignworksUSA. “With our unique approach to cross-fertilization we create value for the BMW Group and our external clients through the increase of knowledge, competency, and outside learnings and inspiration.”

40 years into the future: Unique Services

Always looking to the future has led DesignworksUSA to adopt a holistic approach for tackling both our parent company and external client challenges. Through its creative consulting approach DesignworksUSA explores every layer of the client’s organizational structure and processes – not just the products it offers – to leverage creativity for heighten results and to serve as a premium differentiator in the crowded marketplace.

DesignworksUSA uniquely designs for a wide variety of clients and products. At any moment, the team can be designing a diverse mix of products and experiences including a gaming mouse, mega-yacht, downhill skis, train, espresso machine, car interior and interface, telepresence studio, and much more.

Creative services provided by DesignworksUSA include Product, Transportation, Automotive, Environmental and Interaction Design; Color, Material, and Finish Design; Design Communication, Research, and Strategy; Sustainability Consulting; Creative Engineering, Product Development Engineering; and 3D Visualization and Modeling.

"Culturally, we’re in a steep acceleration of speed, complexity and global reach,”says Laura Robin, Director of Creative Consulting, LA Studio, BMW Group DesignworksUSA, “Our Creative Consulting practice is pointed to that future state – we invent and envision at the place where Design and Business fuse, creating meaningful, sustainable impact across our clients’ value chains.”

40 years into the Future: Creative Culture

It is the people that have made DesignworksUSA successful for the last 40 years and will ensure 40 more years of success. DesignworksUSA employs more than 135 designers, consulting experts, researchers, strategists, modelers, engineers, and materials specialists in North America, Europe, and Asia. DesignworksUSA experts have diverse backgrounds and come from a span of different cultures around the world. Many of the team members have been with DesignworksUSA for more than twenty-five years. The diversity of projects and ability to passionately create solutions for all types of users is what keeps the team strong.

40 years into the future: Global Locations and Insights

With a vision to the future, DesignworksUSA has added new locations to better inform and predict the needs of both external clients and BMW Group. In April 2012, DesignworksUSA added their latest studio in Shanghai. This new location will help the team further understand Asian cultures and trends. In 2006, DesignworksUSA opened a studio in Singapore to capture and translate the vibrant cultures and emerging trends of the Asian region in its design work for both regional and international clients. In 2000, DesignworksUSA expanded with a studio in Munich to tap into the European design culture and have a close link with the BMW Group home base.

“I’m living proof that DesignworksUSA looks out to the future and strategically places studios in regions for contextual learning, client benefit, and design inspiration,”says Niko von Saurma, Studio Director, Munich, BMW Group DesignworksUSA. “I started at DesignworksUSA headquarters in Los Angeles, opened our studio in Singapore, and am now running our Munich studio, ” von Saurma continues.

40 years into the future: The Road Forward

As BMW Group DesignworksUSA celebrates 40 years of creativity and future thinking, it is equally excited to explore the new opportunities and emerging design cultures that form their source. We see and predict many trends for the future. For example, in air travel, we are sensing the ability to adapt will be a critical requirement. If a user wants to be in an active mode and be productive, they will need the technology and environment to provide that. It’s possible a user may want to relax while traveling, so the environment must be able to adjust as well. We analyze similar scenarios for all of the industries we work in.

“DesignworksUSA’s formula for the future is true to its origins,”says Laurenz Schaffer.

“We continue to develop our diverse culture with the finest people in creativity who provide meaningful impact by shaping the world around us.”


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