Thursday, December 9, 2021

Drawing fire: We talk to BMW’s design director

Before you get too excited about retro designs, Dukec insists that the only backward-looking thing about the Neue Klasse is the title. “We don’t make a homage to Neue Klasse,” he says.“But we’re a company who defined a new [market] segment and new product that was very relevant in the 1960s, combining elegance and dynamism in a way nobody else had before.”

While BMW has yet to preview any of its new Neue Klasse designs, the i Vision Circular that was revealed at the Munich motor show recently does hint at the philosophy that will underpin it. It put a major focus on sustainability, using entirely recycled or recyclable materials and reducing styling elements such as chrome details. Dukec says that those principles will be applied to BMW’s future models.

“Neue Klasse will stand for electrification, digitalisation and sustainability,” he explains. “We’re asking: ‘How can we make a car that’s sustainable and intelligent and do more with less?’ This is something that’s very authentic to BMW.

“As designers, it’s about rethinking and reducing. It’s how we treat materials – not using chrome, creating materials to use less leather. For us, electrification alone isn’t the sustainable path it is for others. They think they make electric cars and there, work done. But the problem is bigger.”

Dukec says that his design team has embraced the challenge of making more sustainable cars with conviction because “they’re completely convinced that this is the right thing” to do.

He adds: “Designers are very responsible in their private lives, so they were always fighting, going: ‘I’m working in the car industry producing cars but at home I’m eating no meat.’ So our differentiator is to make a green car that isn’t greenwashing. We really believe luxury for our customers will be that they want consumption that’s really sustainable.”

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