Bimmerfest Tours BMW Designworks USA

by Tim Jones on August 26, 2014, 4:50 pm
BMW designworks USA tour

Before the Winter Olympics Bimmerfest was invited to see how BMW designed what was to become an Olympic medal winning bobsled. The tour at BMW DesignworksUSA's headquarters in Newbury Park, California included much more then just bobsled design. With a first hand look at the inner works of the design studio.

BMW DesignworksUSA started in 1972 as an independent company doing design work for BMW on contract, as well as Nokia, Compaq, Siemens, Adidas and more. After BMW acquired a large chunk of ownership DesignworksUSA started working on the first exterior design project, the E46 3 series. In 1995 BMW bought the rest of the company, bringing the Designworks talent in house.

BMW designworks USA tour

Unlike typical acquisitions BMW DesignworksUSA still does work for other customers, and has to pay for their own employees and overhead. This keeps their designers exposed to trends in the market and where other companies (non-automotive) are going with their designs.

BMW Individual program from DesignsworksUSA

BMW designworks USA tour

On display in the lobby is a full sized clay model of the first BMW built MINI Cooper. The clay sits on a foam base which is supported by a plywood and steel frame. The clay is built up over the foam, then put into the garage sized 5 axis milling machine (picture above cutting out a foam bobsled) and computer cut to match the designers electronic vision for the car. The lines are hand smoothed and often times adjustments are made by hand. What looks good on the computer doesn't always look good in real life so the model is adjusted by hand. The clay sculptors that work on the models are truly artists.

When the design looks good in clay they will scan the model with a 3d scanner and merge the changes into the digital design. It is an impressive blending of high tech, which old world artistry.

BMW designworks USA tour

The lobby has an impressive display of project and products that DesignworksUSA has designed over the years. BMW highlights include:
  • Vision ConnectedDrive
  • BMW Gina
  • BMW 1 series
  • BMW X1
  • BMW X3
  • BMW X5
  • BMW bike collection
  • And more to come

BMW designworks USA tour
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