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BMW Group DesignworksUSA: Premium Design in all the Right Places

October 1st, 2009
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From Starbucks to Disneyland to the hushed cabin of the Dassault Falcon 7X premium business jet, the global creative tour-de-force of DesignworksUSA is bringing great design to consumers’ fingertips.

It’s not surprising to find the creative fingerprints of BMW Group DesignworksUSA in automotive showrooms, as the creative tour-de-force has shaped many of this generation’s most iconic and desirable automobiles including the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and the recently launched BMW Z4 Roadster.

It’s less expected to find expressions of DesignworksUSA’s creativity at a Starbucks coffee shop, aboard the hushed luxury cabin of the latest premium business jet, or at Disneyland in Southern California. A wholly owned subsidiary of BMW Group, DesignworksUSA’s additional clients span a wide range of industries resulting in intersections with the consumer well in addition to those products it creates for the vaunted German automaker.

“DesignworksUSA creates distinct design languages that capture the essence of our clients’ brands in both visual and tactile ways, ” says Verena Kloos, President of DesignworksUSA, “and with a broad cross section of clients we remain well-informed about what invigorates the consumer on a number of levels, from how they like to drive and travel to how they brew their coffee. Our continued success with seemingly divergent clients is a reflection of DesignworksUSA’s deep understanding of consumers’ desires and lifestyles,” Kloos continues.

In collaboration with DesignworksUSA and Saeco, the leading coffee machine manufacturer, Starbucks developed the unique Sirena™ espresso machine for use at home. This semi automatic espresso machine is the result of a two-year development phase. DesignworksUSA was faced with the challenge of creating an authentic product that reflected the distinctive identity of Starbucks and its brand statement, "Daily Inspiration."

“DesignworksUSA translates the premium experience to consumers in many different ways,” says Kloos of the Sirena™ espresso machine for Starbucks. “In some ways communicating luxury in automobile design is easier, as materials and textures that convey premium such as wood, leather or perhaps carbon fiber can be incorporated. But this is not practical for a coffee maker, and the interaction with the user is very different, too,” Kloos continues.

The final design reflects American Art-Deco, dubbed “Galleria” by DesignworksUSA, a concept that conveys the basic iconic gesture and incorporates in particular a feel for the composition of cultural archetypes and visual patterns.

In May 2009, BMW Group DesignworksUSA and its client Dassault Aviation announced their latest successful collaboration, the interior cabin of the new Falcon 7X business jet. The Falcon 7X interior feels familiar and classic, yet modern and elegant, an experience that was achieved by designing a cabin that is clean, calm, and crafted. The design combines a modern, non-ornamental appeal with timeless aspects of quality in the attention to detail and craftsmanship.

“To meet Dassault’s high goals, DesignworksUSA created the theme of ‘Elegance and Style Fused with Function’,’” says Kloos. “Our concept focuses on the sensory elements of the flying experience emphasizing form follows feeling.”

The new Falcon 7X cabin introduces subtle curves throughout the interior. The single arc in the carpet visually stretches the cabin and connects the interior front to back, while the curved bulkheads visually expand the main cabin volume. Subtle curves in the galley and main cabin furniture create a graceful flow. Even the new, unique cabinetry latches feature a subtle curvature, emphasizing harmony and style.

When Gregg Buchbinder, the CEO of leading chair and furniture manufacturer Emeco, discovered one of his company's vintage chairs commanding a bidding war on eBay, he approached DesignworksUSA to redefine and reinterpret the product for a new era.

The solid aluminum 1950’s chair was originally built for U.S. government hospitals, and Emeco wanted to reincarnate the product for use in contemporary homes and offices.

To accomplish this DesignworksUSA brought together Emeco's traditional craftsmanship with the consultancy’s own vision for modern seating, keeping what was great about the chair, but creating a new "stance" and profile more dynamic than the original. The sculpted one-piece construction of the1951™ master frame is made of 80% recycled aluminum, 40% of which is post-consumer, so it is eco-friendly and helps meets LEED criteria for green environmental furnishings. The use of new materials, such as wood laminates and technically molded ABS plastic, in addition to the rust-proof brushed/anodized aluminum frame allows for a variety of color choices. These added functional elements enhance the clean look and appeal to consumers not just on a physical and intellectual level, but an emotional one as well.

Debuting at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, the premiere international tradeshow in home design and furnishings, the 1951 pieces join Emeco's award-winning collection of products by Phillipe Starck and Frank Gehry. Emeco 1951 chairs are presently in service for guests throughout the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California.

“Great design improves and informs our lives no matter where you find it, and that fact is a driving force at DesignworksUSA, ” concludes Kloos.


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