It's safe to say you won't be seeing this BMW art car lapping Sarthe any time soon. The Bavarian automaker teamed up with textiles manufacturer Kvadrat and Flos to create "The Dwelling Lab" – a design installation. The brain child of
We won't pretend to be art critics, so we'll avoid strutting our ignorance by throwing judgment against the fabric-covered 5-Series Gran Turismo. Instead, we'll do our best to describe the piece and let you do the judging for yourself.
Urquiola wanted to draw the viewer's focus to the interior of the car, so she created the massive fabric cones called "diamonds" to pull your look inward. Sure enough, it's effective. You can't help but look toward the car's cloth-swaddled guts. The piece will be on display during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, held in Milan all this month. You'll find the press release after the jump.
* Press Release
Munich/Ebeltoft/Milan. BMW, Kvadrat and Flos have revealed the spectacular design installation "The Dwelling Lab" by Patricia Urquiola and Giulio Ridolfo featuring the new BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, April 2010. Blending their creative and technological expertise, the German carmaker and the Danish textile manufacturer have collaborated to create a unique sculpture based on an innovative car concept. As leading designers both companies chose their long-time favorites, Patricia Urquiola, award-winning Spanish designer and architect, creator of sensual and compelling furniture, and Giulio Ridolfo, distinguished Italian designer and colour expert with a strong background in design, fashion and accessories. Collaborating partner Flos has developed a bespoke OLED solution for internal soft lit features.
The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, designed by the team of BMW Group Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk, has broken with convention and explored a new vernacular, bringing together elements that are part sedan, part SAV, part coupe for the exterior design, while at the same time creating a visionary interior that is as luxurious as it is modern and functional. Urquiola and Ridolfo have translated this concept into a design sculpture whose most daring elements – huge cone-like structures that seem to be growing out of the car's body, drawing the viewer inward just as they reveal the usually sealed-off interior to the outside gaze. The design installation "The Dwelling Lab" will be on show at the shared Kvadrat / Flos Showroom, corso Monforte 15, Milan, during the Salone.
Refined beauty and cutting-edge technology.
The idea for this groundbreaking installation was born when Adrian van Hooydonk, who has long been an admirer and close follower of the Kvadrat collections, met CEO Anders Byriel at a fair and suggested a collaborative project. Kvadrat was founded in 1968, today the young company is the leading supplier for design textiles. Their mix of refined beauty and cutting-edge textile technology has drawn architects and furniture designers, and artists like Olafur Eliasson and Thomas Demand.
The Danish company known for its curtain and upholstery fabrics was thrilled at the chance to enter a new terrain in developing a material suited to the necessities of a car yet retaining the Kvadrat signature.
Working on a car – the structured space of mobility – was also a debut for Patricia Urquiola, and she approached the commission with excitement and curiosity. Spanish born designer, Patricia Urquiola, saw the car interior of the 5 Series Gran Turismo as offering a great opportunity to play around with soft edges and colours; whilst at the same time creating an atmospheric space inside the car infused with the dominance of the textiles and the interaction between the various materials. The stunning installation includes an array of innovative products and interior details in various hues and materials. Patricia Urquiola describes her inspiration for the design: "Usually we perceive cars from the outside, and then the inside follows. However, our direct interaction is with the inside: it is the core that protects and comforts us, the space in direct contact with our bodies and our functions and needs in the process of travelling. I investigated this interface and tried to understand the possible evolution as a softer, dwelling experience."
For Adrian van Hooydonk, Director BMW Group Design, this design project was an equally stimulating experience. "BMW contributed expertise in automotive design and construction. Patricia Urquiola approached this project from a different perspective and with a different perception. With her openness and creative vigor in finding innovative solutions, she allows people to see the car in a totally different way. And above all underscores the emotional connection that people have to this very technical object that is a car", he says. "The Dwelling Lab creates a daring shift in perspective, challenging boundaries. Philosophy and character of the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo were ideally interpreted in this unique design installation."
The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo was designed from the inside out, and The Dwelling Lab allows you for the first time in history to see the interior of the car before you see the exterior. It highlights the growing importance of a car's interior. Design is focusing evermore closely to people with their needs and desires; it is an expression of modern understanding of well-being – to be comforted and pampered in style."
Kvadrat actively engages in art and design projects that push the boundaries of textile and its uses. The Dwelling Lab is the latest in a series of projects which illustrates how textiles can be used in innovative ways interior car design. Anders Byriel, CEO of Kvadrat: "Given the amount of time most drivers spend in their cars comfort, individuality and function are important. Currently, people think automatically about leather when they buy an expensive car. With this collaboration we want to show, that by using high quality textiles you can create a very exclusive but also warm and personal interior, which is more in line with the atmosphere people create in their homes."
The Fine Art of Travelling.
Patricia Urquiola is one of the few women to have established her firm in an area largely dominated by men. The former student of Achille Castiglioni was also voted "Designer of the Year" and among "Best Designers of the Decade" by magazines such as Wallpaper, ELLE Déco and the German magazines "Häuser" and "H.O.M.E". She is known for her furniture designs such as the couch "Antibody" and for the chairs reminiscent of handbags called "Smock". Together with Kvadrat she developed a lush, skin-coloured fabric with a special soft finish and a complex quilt-like stitched pattern for the interior of the 5 Series GT. With the combined efforts of the specialists in BMW´s design department Patricia Urquiola created inspired solutions dedicated to the art of traveling that dress the inside of the car in enticing elegance, extending even to the dashboard.
As a mother of two, Patricia Urquiola also has a sharp eye for design that excels not only in wit but equally in functionality: she created a special child seat for the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and designed holders for baby bottles that are a part of the array of compartments and fittings on the backs of the two front seats.
In collaboration with Flos, one of the leading manufacturers in design light known for its innovation and creativity, Patricia has developed an exclusive light concept including soft lit features and Micro-Chasen, a mini version of her acclaimed Chasen Lamp she designed for Flos in 2009. Piero Gandini, President and CEO of Flos: 'The Micro-Chasen is perfect for reading and makes this "experience" more alluring and emotional.'
Daring and dynamic Statement.
The spectacular "entrance" to the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo by Patricia Urquiola is an ensemble of four cone-like elements she herself calls "diamonds". The colour concept for these four geometrical structures – frames with stretched fabric by Kvadrat – was created by Giulio Ridolfo. They seem to grow out of the car's body like huge loudspeakers, beckoning onlookers to come closer and peer inside. A daring and dynamic statement, that for Patricia Urquiola and Giulio Ridolfo who has worked for Gianfranco Ferrè, for Tod's and Hogan demonstrates how mathematics, geometry and engineering can produce beautiful, balanced design. The result is a dynamic statement introducing unconventional notions about the worlds of inside and outside.
For Giulio Ridolfo colour is more than a "colourful" selection – neither random nor simply decoration – but, rather, a form of applied art that helps relate the act of perceiving to an object as a whole. After he has selected a tone he usually begins by examining many similar shades until he has narrowed it down to only one. A complicated process, which allows Giulio Ridolfo to include what he calls the vibrations of other colours. The "Dwelling Lab" was a novel and challenging experience, as he needed to focus on fabric and tones that would be adequate and expressive for the larger dimensions of a car.
Giulio Ridolfo: 'To enhance the spirit of the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, we have integrated several unexpected details and accessories to create sensory experience and a mood of leisure and gentle surprise. Textile is the fundamental material: the geometrical cones are coated with 700 meters of Kvadrat's "Max" in an special designed colour, and the car's interior are upholstered with various other Kvadrat fabrics.'
For BMW and Kvadrat this design cooperation is a premiere; however, both have a tradition in supporting design and art projects that explore the boundaries between creativity and technology. This visionary concept and the process of realizing this challenge are of key importance to both premium manufacturers. Like Patricia Urquiola, they share a belief in viable aesthetics that allows customers to experience luxury and functionality in a forward-looking manner.