‘BMW: Behind the Scenes’ is hailed as the definitive exploration of the Bavarian automaker’s aesthetic evolution. A render of the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage, a unique car constructed from the chassis of a stripped-down 6 Series convertible.
Despite spanning three volumes, this latest publication delving into BMW’s art and design leaves one with the feeling it could have been even more extensive. Across over 80 years, BMW has traversed an idiosyncratic design journey, oscillating between smooth, meticulous Germanic perfectionism and a bold, almost anti-aesthetic and confrontational approach, exemplified by recent models like the i Vision Dee with its polychrome E Ink body panels.
BMW: Behind the Scenes” narrates this captivating story. The initial volume, “BMW by Design,” also available as a standalone book, offers a lavishly illustrated overview, spanning from iconic 1970s and 1980s models to the latest concepts like the BMW Vision Neue Klasse.
The author, Steve Saxty, was granted unprecedented access to BMW’s archives, collaborating closely with Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, to unravel the narrative. BMW has consistently prioritized the concept car as a means of exploring new forms and ideas, often venturing into unconventional territories, such as Chris Bangle’s Gina Light Visionary Model and the BMW Garmisch, a meticulous recreation of the 1970 Geneva Motor Show by Marcello Gandini.
Some of the most intriguing chapters in car design history involve creations that never saw the light of day, deemed too unorthodox, uneconomical, or simply unfeasible for the public. The second volume, “BMW’s Hidden Gems,” unveils some of these unseen treasures, many provided by French car designer Paul Bracq, who oversaw BMW design in the early 1970s.
The concluding volume, “BMW Art by Design,” spotlights drawings and renderings deserving special attention, often created during the design development process or for promotional purposes. The set concludes with art prints of 18 select renderings, all presented in a cloth-bound slipcase.
A true labor of love, the book spans 570 pages across three volumes and features over 100 interviews. Adrian van Hooydonk notes, “We wanted to capture the very spirit inside the BMW Group design team, our way of working and thinking, the passion, the risk-taking, and the tremendous dedication, time, and energy our people expend. I think the result will provide readers with a glimpse of BMW’s future rather than just its past.”
The three-volume set of “BMW: Behind the Scenes” is available for pre-order on Steve Saxty for £244.95.