I’ve received a large number of emails from folks asking my opinion of the BMW GINA concept car.
Here’s what I think:
- GINA is about being remarkable. And being remarkable, whether it be in the domains of design, engineering or marketing, takes guts. BMW excels across all three of these domains, and does so in no small part due to having the courage of its convictions. Sometimes these convictions are too strongly held, witness iDrive in all of its befuddling infamy. But from iDrives to flame surfaces to Bangle Butts, BMW seems to be a place where errors of commission are forgiven. It’s about guts, in other words, and GINA is an tangible expression of those held by the brave folks from Munich.
- GINA is about a return to a paradigm of flexible, articulating structures. GINA’s anthropomorhpic nature is quite sticky from an emotional point of view, but I find it most interesting in terms of a return to a structural paradigm used by early aviation pioneer such as Louis Bleriot. Being covered with a fabric is not a new idea — many cars used to have
leather bodywork (and we still have lingering fabric convertible tops
out there) — but combining that fabric with an articulating structure
is new for automobiles. The wing of a Bleriot monoplane flexed in response to pilot control inputs. To see that wing in motion is to see organic motion very different to the mechanistic slides and pivots that characterize modern airplanes. When the light hits it just right, there are few mechanical structures more beautiful than a semi-translucent Bleriot wing.
- GINA is a platform for a new age of open innovation and co-creation. As Chris Bangle states in the video, attaching the fabric covering to the space frame does not require a great deal of time. Imagine the cool stuff that could happen if BMW enabled "civilians" to riff on their own fabric covering patterns. Or perhaps non-structural elements of the space frame could be easily modified within specified parameters to allow for surface improvisations. And even the parameters controlling the wink of GINA’s eyes could be made available for public hacking, so that you could upload new software routines and choose to have a sleepy car or a caffeinated autobahn stormer. Most BMW’s, I’d wager, would be the latter.
I’ll take mine in a matte finish.