BMW’s Designworks Innovation Studio Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary


Designworks, the innovation studio of the BMW Group, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The studio plays a key role in the design and development of some of the automaker’s most popular and important models.

Designworks was founded in 1972 by industrial designer Chuck Pelly in a garage out of Malibu, California. It has since been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW Group since 1995 and currently has locations in Los Angeles, Munich, and Shanghai. It currently employs 130 people.

Approximately half of Designworks’ nearly 300 projects a year are completed for the BMW Group with the others involving external digital and mobility clients. Designworks was instrumental in the design development of the current BMW X model range, the BMW i brand, and has been responsible for many of the company’s concept cars, including the unforgettable BMW GINA Light Visionary Model from 2008.

The studio will help BMW navigate the industry’s shift towards electrification.

“This change affects the entire industry. We will need all our creativity and advanced thinking to find the best solutions. The set-up we have with Designworks gives us an excellent chance of being successful,” senior vice president of BMW Group Design, Adrian van Hooydonk described.

Read: BMW Designworks Helped To Create This Sleek, Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft

Beyond working on the design of new vehicles, Designworks has been involved in design concepts in the fields of furniture, aircraft, underground rail, bicycles, boats, sporting goods, air taxis, agricultural and forestry machinery, a hyperloop, and other projects.

The company says that in order to ensure it never runs out of innovative ideas, teams consciously invite creative tension “that must be explored, examined, and ultimately resolved,” a process the company says yields more refined creative output.

“We work on solutions for complex ecosystems at the intersection of design, mobility and technology,” added Holger Hampf, head of Designworks. “Our job is to present the unexpected approach to a solution. We have to challenge the BMW Group in a positive way, develop ideas and, in the best case, answer questions that haven’t even been asked yet.”


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