Saturday, October 20, 2012

Designing Aesthics at the BMW World and Museum

Munich, Germany

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ever admired a BMW? You're not alone and for good reason.

And if you're ever in Munich, there are two perfect places to admire these cars, motorcycles and racing machines.
In the foreground, the BMW Welt (world), where you could pick up a car you may have ordered on-line. In front of BMW's HQ in the back, the silvery bowl is the BMW museum. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit both the Welt and the museum.

In this map: 
A = The Sheraton Aragbellapark, where I was staying
The twinned pins in the top left are, the BMW Welt and Museum. Across the road, moving south is the Olympic Park.
The pin at the bottom left is the site of Oktoberfest.

The Sheraton is nice, it has a decent restaurant and, best of all, it is at the terminus of a subway line that goes downtown so on the way back to the hotel, you can't miss your stop: it is the last one.

The BMW Welt is a mesmerizing geometry of beauty. Here are a few views of it from the outside.

Tower in the back is from the Olympic Park across the street.

Looking up at the spiral.

Going inside...

 It was Oktoberfest, so there were ladies dressed in dirndl (the traditional dress for ladies.)

Outside nearby, it wasn't hard to find random people dressed up as well.

An electric concept car with a charging station.

Nearby, a cool furniture concept. Now, is this futuristic or retro-futuristic? Because it reminds me of a look that was popular in magazines in the 1970s.

Much focus on engineering and design.

Austin Mini's are part of the BMW family.

As are Rolls Royce's

The much sought after M3.

This is the closest I'll likely get to climbing into the driver's seat of an M3.

Last look back before heading outside.

People love to pose for photos.

Here, you can cross the street in style.


 Same pair from the far side...
Inside the museum: An array of moving silver balls can form an aerodynamic plane that then takes on a familiar form.

BMW started as a team of aircraft engine designers who went into the motorcycle business shortly after World War 1.

Soon after, they upped their game and started producing cars. And this was 1920s Germany with its super-hyper-inflation economy. The proverbial wheel barrow full of cash required to buy a loaf of bread economy. Amazing that any business survived that let alone a start up working with a new technology like BMW. Henry Ford never had to go through hyper-inflation, for example.

Another tip of the hat to engineering.

Naturally, engines have a special place in the story and in the museum.

The design of the museum itself was something to behold. All that text is projected and was continuously in motion.

Everyone I know can name the model series, but do you know the differences between all of these model numbers? I don't.

I really enjoyed the advertising campaigns and these hand-crafted posters.

Could you climb into this contraption and break the sound barrier? Pretty small. But people did that and succeeded.

The two sheet metal screws behind the driver's seat don't give me much confidence.

I like the composition of these photo posters.

This one says, "A Mercedes as well can bring driving pleasure."

An icon of its time.

This looks like a Mercedes Benz Smart. I love the luggage rack on the back.

This design room was intriguing.

That glass ceiling leads to the room with the silver balls.

See the design room below?

Moving right along, a wall of motorcycles.

On the lower show room floor...

The James Bond car, BMW's version.

"Die Another Day" starring the BMW Z3 Roadster and a bunch of people.

These are simply photos of beautiful designs.

I love the dashboard and the fire extinguisher in front of the passenger seat is a nice touch. :-)

Do the the leather straps have a practical purpose? Can you imagine a car coming with those today?

Is this the Cal BMW? Probably not exactly golden enough for the Bears.

This crowd was making a minor repair on this ancient roadster.

They told me that it is very rare to open the hood during museum hours.

Spartan interior with a wooden steering wheel.

Further on, there is a Guggenheim-like spiral section.

The hood of the silver car above was inspired by a photo of a sand dune that the designer saw while out shopping.

I really like how they matched the design concepts and process with the finished product.

Upstairs, each display is accompanied by design illustrations and studies.

And then back down the escalator towards the exit.

The cafe.
Frankly, I'm sorry to report that the service was indifferent, the food was not good and there was a swarm of hornets flying about. Really surprised me as my usual experience at museum restaurants has been terrific.

However, I found myself inspired by the art and engineering to assemble this still life on my table.

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