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Automobile designer Chris Bangle pictures (pic) and photo gallery.
Birth name: Christopher Edward Bangle.
Born: October 14, 1956 in Ravenna, Ohio, USA.
Chris Bangle is the Chief of Design for BMW Group, responsible for design strategy and conception across all BMW's brands including Mini and Rolls Royce.
Bangle was raised in Wausau, Wisconsin, and attended the Wausau West High School. After considering becoming a Methodist minister, Bangle attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Bangle began his career at Opel where he designed the interior of the Junior concept car. He later moved to Fiat where he became chief designer and was credited with the design of the angular Fiat Coupe.
When he joined BMW in 1992 , he became their first American chief of design although he had little experience designing complete cars. The first car heavily influenced by his design principles, the 1999 Z9 concept car, marked a controversial departure from BMW's traditional conservative style. BMW's production vehicles incorporating Bangle's styling themes have been similarly controversial, but they have sold well.
In 2004, Bangle became the Chief of Design for the overall BMW Group, including Mini and Rolls Royce. He was replaced as Chief Designer of BMW by Dutch protege Adrian van Hooydonk.
Designs which Bangle has overseen include the 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, and Z4 roadster. These designs deviate from BMW's traditional styling themes, which emphasized functional, rigid, straight-line forms. The 1-Series and Z4 especially have more sculpted appearances and curved lines. Bangle describes his design approach as "flame surfacing", and notes Frank Gehry's work as an influence.
Proponents of Bangle's polarizing designs say that the new design direction represents a move into the future for a brand whose design language was growing overly conservative. Although BMW's design language has changed significantly under Bangle's influence, several of its traditional design elements remain in its latest vehicles, including the trademark twin-kidney grille, quadruple headlights, and the Hofmeister kink.
Despite the controversy surrounding Bangle's work, numerous automakers have emulated his design elements. For example, several Toyotas (notably the Avalon and Camry) have utilized his stepped "Bangle-butt" trunk design. The new-for-2007 Lexus LS also bears some resemblance to the BMW 7 Series.
Bangle argues that it is necessary for product lines to follow an alternating cycle of revolutionary and evolutionary generations. His revolution began with the 2002 introduction of the 7-series, but prior to that, he oversaw the more conservative wave of BMW designs, which included the redesign of the E46 3-Series and the introduction of the BMW X5. The latest BMWs, while retaining Bangle-influenced styling cues, are styled more traditionally than those first styled under Bangle's supervision.
Bangle acknowledges that his designs are not photogenic, and suggests to critics that they should view the cars in person before judging their looks.