Thursday, June 12, 2008

Skin your car...

Alas, my elbow is still broken and my arm is still casted, so the slacker posts shall continue. One of these days, I'll be able to type my standard 40 wph...yes, hour.

Actually, I wish I could write more because design-wise, BMW is currently on crack. Wonderful, tremendously addictive crack. Crack that makes you see illusory possibilities and make them concrete. Crack that turns design on its head.

If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top. . .that floats by makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings.

-Bucky Fuller

Have you ever ripped the side of your car? I didn't think so.

Behold, the BMW GINA Light Concept Car!

Instead of the standard aluminum, plastic or steel, BMW is experimenting with a textile fabric skin stretched around a metal and carbon fiber wire frame, thus allowing the car to be lighter in both performance and production footprint.

The concept is so flexible, in fact, that a design could conceptually change its shape. Imagine a Bugatti Veyron that pops up a spoiler to act as an airbrake. Now imagine something similar, only this time the airbrake is actually the shape of your car.

This innovative approach also affords other advantages for a clean design. Lighting can actually be placed subcutaneously, exposing itself through the transparent skin when needed.
The GINA Concept is based on the Z8 chassis -- a chassis where the frame carries the crash and structural load-- so the the addition of steel instead of textile skin would not improve, nor detract, from GINA's protection inside of the cockpit. The rider would be just as safe in a GINA as a Z8.

Watch as Chris Bangle, Director of Design BMW Group, explains the craziness behind the GINA concept...