In 1992, he was named the first American Chief of Design at BMW. His mandate to strategize emotion through design has energized the typically conservative brand, updating BMW's classic design with bold, sculptural lines, a far cry from homogenous car design. As a result, his daring designs have helped BMW become the global leader in premium car sales and brought in legions of new fans, spurring rivals to follow suit in emulating this distinctive style.
After leaving BMW in February 2009, he founded Chris Bangle Associates s.r.l. (CBA) at a centuries old Borgata in the hills above Clavesana - a famed center for wine in the Piemonte Region of Italy. Today, as the managing Director of CBA, Chris Bangle leads a team of designers and engineers, who, together with the Associates from the CBA clients, use the Borgata as a hybrid Studio-Design Residency. The open spaces and beautiful vineyards around the Borgata encourage the imagination.
One of his most recent projects - REDS – is a new kind of EV developed for CHTC (China Hi-Tech Group Corporation), and it introduces a new visual language for cars. After the launch at Los Angeles Motors show in November 2017, REDS is now being developed for production. With REDS Chris Bangle has taken a revolutionary approach to car design by beginning the process from the inside so that the interior of the car is a wonderful place to live, work and play. As Chris says, he has designed “a space that decided to become a car". In addition to the studio’s activities devoted to product and car design, workshops and strategic consultancy, CBA has developed in the last five years a branch dedicated to animation and cartoons.
The experiences in design and innovation and the advice Bangle has to offer after over 25 years as a manager make him a speaker in demand; he travels frequently around the world to lecture, teach design, and consult with his Client Associates.
The Associates are all the persons involved in our projects; the clients, marketers, engineers, production technicians and designers who join together to make innovative, visionary, even courageous design. We value confidentiality in our relationship with our client associates, so the work is not generally featured on our website.
CBA believes in Ethical Design––both in practice and in form––and also in Truthful Design. We ask many questions in our hunt for this truth and they all begin with WHY of a project before proceeding to the HOW of the client's manufacturing processes. Then we can begin designing the WHAT-–the actual product or service.
Chris Bangle Associates is a residency for design; a home-studio amid the vineyards south of Torino with room to exercise creative freedom. We wish to help all clients––not only from the culture of mobility but from all disciplines needing design––to profit from this experience here in the Borgata.
Besides being a successful design consultancy for 10 years serving a wide range of clients from luxury goods to home electronics, superyachts and automotive design, CBA is nowadays the best partner for a discussion on Emotional Fascination and the world of objects in all its dimensions. “We have been heavily engaged in the last four years developing the understanding of emotive-communication in objects. Engaging the emotions of the users in new ways has to augment their fascination with the client’s devices”, says Chris Bangle.
The Borgata Gorrea in Clavesana, a small village in the Langhe wine district not too far from Turin, is home and studio of Chris Bangle and his wife Catherine. There are four principle buildings that form the south side of this Borgata (an Italian type of house collective that is too small to be a village but more than what would belong to a single farm). Chris and Catherine started the construction in 2006 and are now working on building number four (number one is the house, two is the guesthouse, three is the current studio).
As a Studio-Design Residency in-becoming, the Borgata has a past, a busy present, and a vibrant future. Chris Bangle Associates s.r.l. was conceived here and is now evolving and growing in parallel with the progress of the works of construction. The unique local context, the size of the barns and stalls and the professional resources both in Clavesana and in nearby Turin are the basis of the Borgata as a unique place for creativity and innovation.