100 Visions

Du monde entier

Chris Bangle

Managing Director,
Chris Bangle Associates

Clavesana, Italy

In 2012, isn’t the whole world up in arms because they want to be Meaningful Participants? Why wait 100 years?

Musings on Life 100 Years from Now

In 100 years, purchasing prefinished products designed by either unknown persons – or “star designers” as it is in 2012– has become a fringe phenomenon; the major manner in which products come into being and are used has subsided into a system of continuous creativity in which everyone engaged in the process adds a bit of their own nature to the outcome, coloring the world for everyone by the commitment of their actions and decisions.

The need for change is evident if we want to create a world of Participants, not one of Disenfranchised. Design as a profession and as a culture of making-and-acquiring must evolve out of the egotistical phase it is in now – with an over-emphasis on the precise execution of the single person’s creative vision as the typical (and often only) available measurement of Design Quality.

Ideas must get made by “makers,” and the measure of a responsible “maker” at any point in the process of realizing a product was always in the quality of their contribution – not just execution. The isolation of creativity into the hands of the few disenfranchises people from the system today – as it promotes the notion that the only thing that matters after Design in the execution of the products is Time and Money.

We should be looking for a different sort of “Design Revolution” – one in which the masses (NOT just the consumer masses, as “Co-Creation” is understood) are empowered to be engaged in the actual definition of the final aesthetic condition of the product. A person’s job in the next 100 years doesn’t have to be anti-tech or even the same job they did yesterday, but something that makes their participation a meaningful one.

I look toward a time when the Designer is only one of many who contribute their creativity in the final product, and the persons who actually make our daily-use tools, toys, and accessories of life are as important to the aesthetic expression of each item as the Designer with the original idea was.

In 100 years, we will have mastered the next revolution in design. The challenge will be to weave each individual’s meaningful contribution into the creative process – and still keep the safety, efficiency, usability, reliability and profitability at levels where the system and the planet are sustainable. The measure of our success will not be in terms of profit-per-piece but in the number of persons involved in a design and the quality of their experience.

Maybe then, when the complete cycle of creativity has become a co-involved one, we won’t have so much disenfranchised youth seeking a chance to be acknowledged, so many marginalized societies trying to be productive, and so much useless – and meaningless – stuff filling our landfills.

In 2012, isn’t the whole world up in arms because they want to be Meaningful Participants? Why wait 100 years?

Chris Bangle Bio:

"Bangle is arguably the most influential auto designer of his generation."

Phil Patton, New York Times, February 20, 2006

One only needs to look down the street for evidence of Chris Bangle's ingenuity and far-reaching influence.

A daring designer whose work has provoked endless discussion, Bangle is best known for his tenure as Chief of Design for the BMW Group, where he was responsible for bringing the designs of the BMW, Mini Cooper, and Rolls Royce into the twenty-first century.

Graduating from the Art Center College of Design, Bangle began his career at Opel, and then moved on to Fiat, where he designed the brazen Coupe Fiat. In 1992, he was named the first American Chief of Design at BMW.

No other designer has had such a far-reaching impact in the automotive industry. His mandate to "strategize emotion" through design has energized the typically conservative brand, updating BMW's classic design with bold, sculptural lines, a far cry from homogenous car design. As a result, his daring designs have helped BMW become the global leader in premium car sales and brought in legions of new fans, spurning rivals to follow suit in emulating his distinctive style.