Chris Bangle on the 2013 CES and NAIAS

We catch up with Chris Bangle to hear his thoughts on the most interesting debuts at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, his altruistic view towards helping students and BMW’s new i brand

We like to think of Chris Bangle is an old friend. Ever since we shot that video of him with Jason Castriota at the 2011 Geneva motor show, we try to catch up with him as often as possible. He is always cordial and animated, even when he’s got an agenda that doesn’t include time out for a video interview.

And so we caught up with Chris in Detroit recently, where he was running through the auto show on his way back from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas — an event that is attracting more and more automotive designers as OEMs seek out new-to-market innovations developed by electronics companies and display their own concepts on the growing number of automotive show stands.

According to Chris, some the many impressive technologies he noticed at CES were the 4K ultra-high televisions and the new dual view TVs from Samsung. These are also equipped with voice and gesture control to attenuate functions and fitted with OLEDs for enhanced clarity. It’s no surprise he cited the company’s products as a highlight — he formally divulged how he is currently working with Samsung through his own design consultancy, Chris Bangle Associates, “mainly because they’re very innovation driven”.

Chris says his consultancy is also doing work for other innovation-driven companies, but neglected to mention which by name. And though he is not currently doing any work in the automotive sector, he is not against the idea of potentially doing some projects with carmakers. He maintains however, that he doesn’t want to become design director for anyone in particular as it is an all-consuming post that would require his complete attention, thereby rendering time to work on other projects — such as the ones he is currently undertaking — impossible.

What never ceases to amaze us is how genuine and eager Chris is to help the younger generation. He’s always had time to speak to people that recognize him walking through the show floor and will gladly sign the many pieces of paper put in front of him by a young designer wanting an autograph. I can remember walking though the Shanghai auto show with him and being stopped at least a dozen times in 20 minutes. He took the time to speak to every single person and offer his advice or opinion then, and still continues to answer the influx of emails he receives from students looking to work in the design sector.

Watch the video above to hear what new technology caught Chris Bangle’s eye at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, his views on giving back to the younger generation of designers and his thoughts on BMW i.


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