There's little question Chris Bangle is one of the greatest designers of his generation. His cars were rarely pretty, but their influence resonated around the automotive world like a pipe bomb in an echo chamber. Much like cutting edge graphic design is born inside art school graduate schools years before it's ready for massive public consumption, Bangle's Bimmers were ahead of their time. And they changed nearly everything. Controversial? Of course, but that's how the public digests new design. Skittishly at first, before becoming so used to the flavor that it's hardly noticed anymore.
Case in point: The Toyota Camry, probably the most conservative car in the world, and one that attempts to appeal to as great a cross-section of buyers as possible, uses the rear end (a.k.a. Bangle Bustle or in the parlance of our times, Bangle Butt) from the 2002 BMW E65 7 Series. Again, you don't have to like Chris Bangle's work, but to deny his influence is to be willfully ignorant. This past February, Mr. Bangle retired from both BMW and the car industry as a whole. And to our knowledge he's been laying pretty low. That is until Britain's Car caught up with him at his design studio/vineyard in northern Italy.
How's he doing? Well, he seems to be the big art school nerd he was before he was able to retire to the Italian country side. In other words, he talks about a car's inherent "carness," as well as stuff like, "It is about creating a different type of relationship between design, design's outcome, the product and the people who use and enjoy it." A big however, however, is in order because we get treated to a more critical, dare we say, unrestrained side of Chris Bangle.
"I feel incredibly motivated to find out how design can overturn this horror of a world," Bangle tells Car. That's one way of taking design to the next level. Bangle also lays some wood into the current state of car design. "You can always argue that the generation before didn't have the constraints that we have, but that's crap." As you can see, it's a fun read. As for the big question – whether or not Chris Bangle will once again design cars after his non-compete clause expires in March of next year, let's just say... maybe.