BMW has announced that Laurenz Schaffer will be taking over as the president of its Newbury Park, California-based DesignworksUSA studio on December 1. Schaffer will be replacing Verena Kloos who has been running the facility for the past five years. Kloos is moving back to Germany to run Department of Context Design and Advanced Development for the Werks.
The California studio was launched in 1972 by designer Chuck Pelly and purchased by BMW in 1995. Over the years, Designworks has been responsible for products ranging from coffee makers, to HP printers to Embraer business jet interiors and yachts. They've also done some work on cars as well. The current generation Z4 and the original X5 were both born out to the California facility.
Designworks also has two smaller satellite studios in Munich and Singapore. Schaffer has actually been running the Munich studio since 2000 so he knows the people there and how they work.
Earlier this year, Kloos sat down to discuss Designworks and lead a tour of the California facility and you can check out the videos after the jump.
Laurenz Schaffer New President of the BMW Group's Subsidiary DesignworksUSA.
Munich. Germany, California, Germany, and back to California again: Laurenz Schaffer, Director of the Munich Studio of BMW Group DesignworksUSA since the year 2000, will be taking over the position of the President of BMW's Subsidiary in Newbury Park (Los Angeles) in California on 1 December 2009.
"With his many years of experience in numerous areas of design, Laurenz Schaffer has made a significant contribution in recent years to strengthening DesignworksUSA as an international driving force in BMW Group Design and in making the Studio an appealing partner also for external customers. The success of our concept of inter-acting, interdisciplinary transfer of know-how to the mutual benefit of both the BMW Group and external clients of Designworks is largely attributable to Laurenz Schaffer," states Adrian van Hooydonk, Director BMW Group Design. "Working for our brands BMW and MINI and for companies such as Siemens, HEAD, Sony or Starbucks, he and his team in Munich have consistently paved the way for innovative products and strategies."
Schaffer, born in 1967, first worked as a product designer with renowned design studios in Stuttgart, Munich, and San Francisco, before joining the Munich Studio of BMW Group DesignworksUSA in 1998. In the year 2000 he took over management of the Munich Studio.
From the start, Laurenz Schaffer was fascinated by the concept of this unique Subsidiary which, with studios in California, Munich and Singapore, has acquired international renown in the world of design. "As an external studio, we are able in cooperation with the BMW Group and its brands and with customers outside of the company, to acquire know-how in many different areas. This benefits both sides", says Schaffer.
In his new function Laurenz Schaffer will focus in particular on the ongoing development of DesignworksUSA as an international agency for strategic design, for product, automotive and transport design, and as a specialist in brand strategy.
DesignworksUSA was established in 1972 by design legend Chuck Pelly and was taken over by BMW in 1995. Today DesignworksUSA comes under the responsibility of BMW Group Chief Designer Adrian van Hooydonk, who himself was the President of this BMW Subsidiary in California from 2001 – 2004.
At DesignworksUSA, designers, engineers, multi-media specialists and model builders form an international team of more than 135 specialists developing the interior of business jets and yachts, mobile telephones, sports equipment, medical/technical equipment, entertainment electronics as well as solutions for graphic and interface design on behalf of customers such as Embraer, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft.
Laurenz Schaffer is succeeding Verena Kloos as the President of DesignworksUSA in California, who had been in charge of the company since September 2004. Kloos who, after working for Volkswagen, Mazda and DaimlerChrysler Advanced Design, joined BMW and DesignworksUSA, will be responsible from now on in Munich at BMW Group Design for the Department of Context Design and Advanced Development.
Starting on 1 November 2009, Niko von Saurma-Jeltsch will be taking over the Munich Studio. Until 2008, von Saurma-Jeltsch was the successful President of the newly established DesignworksUSA Studio in Singapore, after which he given responsibility for design strategy in Munich.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA is a subsidiary of the BMW Group and an international design studio focusing on transport and product design as well as strategic design consultancy. The Studio was first entrusted with BMW design assignments in the '80s. Today, after having been acquired by the BMW Group in 1995, the Studio operates worldwide from its three bases in Europe (Munich), America (Newbury Park), and Asia (Singapore), with the President of the L.A. Studio running business activities worldwide.
DesignworksUSA acts both as a driving force for the design studios of the three BMW Group brands and as an innovator for a wide range of renowned customers in many different areas such as IT and entertainment electronics, aircraft technology, medical and environmental technology, as well as lifestyle and sports. The Studio provides inspiration on BMW Group design and at the same time contributes its experience gained in the complex and visionary automotive industry to design projects for clients in other areas.
Outstanding clients in many industries and sectors of the economy the world over confide in this principle of unique, interdisciplinary transfer of know-how, among them Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, BAVARIA Yachts, Boeing Business Jets, Acer, and Nokia.