Yesterday I posted a video of the BMW interactive kinetic sculpture, an installation that forms part of the companies recently launched museum. While browsing their Web TV site I saw a video of another exhibit from the museum. Called GINA, the exhibit is a prototype car with a flexible fabric skin instead of a traditional rigid metal or fibreglass body. The car is engineered to be able to morph, changing its shape. The changes can only be made within fairly limited physical parameters. It is a framework under the flexible skin that is able to move, but with such precision engineering in car design, even the most subtle of changes in a plane or line can have radical aesthetic or aerodynamic affect.
The concept of using a flexible fabric skin is in itself very radical and interesting, especially combined with the ability to change the cars shape, and I am sure that there will be great desire and expectation to see something so innovative find its way into production. However the thing that I find even more interesting is to see how the car itself has been so influential on the visual language of the current series of BMW production cars. The car itself looks very much a BMW. The shapes and lines that the car cuts, are distinctly BMW, yet it does not appear that a visual language has been mapped onto the car, rather the technology of a simple frame pushing through the flexible fabric skin creating its own unique language. From what I have garnered from other posts online, the car is at least six years old. It would appear that the team imagined up a car that not only explored the idea of a flexible skin, but also became a tool for exploring new forms and shapes, and became a tool in evolving BMW's avant guarde visual design language. This is an example where, at least in part the technology has been used to express the visual language. The shapes do not come from a computer, or from traditional crafts and design, rather from new materials and technology.
A truly inspirational project. From many angles!
See more images and video of the car below, and the teaser that preceeded it. Not only an interesting story, but also an example of successful online marketing, with the video notching up over two million views in several weeks.
I read about this first on Geekology blog
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