Although running autonomously, design works is an innovation studio for the BMW Group. they help the brand learn more from different fields, identify international user trends, and push them in the constant pursuit of the future of mobility. at the same time, however, they extend the boundaries of outside clients as well. their work is split 50:50 between internal and external projects, but each one is always related to mobility at large. this creates a progressive, diverse network of shared insight and leading knowledge between the BMW Group, design works – its offices in China, Germany, and the USA – and its external clients.
Founded in Malibu, California in 1972, design works was born with the mission to create with great design, people, and fun. after moving to Newbury Park, 40 miles north of Los Angeles, the creative consultancy was acquired by the BMW Group in 1995 to aid the manufacturer’s breakthrough into the North American market. it marked a significant change in their business model as they began balancing an equal directive of external client projects and those from BMW. their working philosophy did not change, though, as they continue to this day to inspire and challenge companies at the forefront of their industries in design, technology, and innovation.
The ideas of premium, mobility, and the future guide their work within car culture, lifestyle, and entertainment projects. external brands must fit – or aspire to suit – these themes, with design works portfolio comprising a strategic mix of clients ranging from start-ups to global giants. each one is selected by what unique learning qualities they offer to the consultancy’s creative community, and ultimately how ambitious they are. this is because the studio set its sights on the next 10-15 years when designing solutions of holistic systems to impact and improve the world, not just objects.
To design for the future, they first need to imagine it. each studio plays an important role in understanding what the future might look like for users across the globe. their offices in Shanghai, Munich, and LA delve into months of research to identify user needs, evolving technology, and trends. they share, work collaboratively, and gain insights from their global colleagues. the most inspiring topics then lead design works the collective creative brain, but different desires in markets like China and the USA are always considered.
Their Munich office acts as an important hub and a bridge between the consultancy and the BMW Group. they collect the data from their colleagues in shanghai and LA, analyze the findings, and set the design direction for projects. in most cases, design works findings filter into BMW’s design at a broader level. they influence projects more conceptually and highlight experiences that users desire in the future and a perspective on market suitability. the Munich office also enables many of the BMW Group’s workforce to revolve through the agency, including Adrian van hooydonk (VP of BMW Group design), Oliver helmer (MINI head of design), and Holger Kampf (president of design works).