Over a year ago, in an interview with Auto&Design, BMW design chief Chris Bangle described his vision of the automotive philosophy of the future in decidedly abstract terms.

“The important thing”, he said, “is to start questioning dogmas: and sometimes, you need a big hammer to break them down. You just need to grasp the fact that everything is variable and that there are no fixed forms, so you can take a more flexible approach.”

It is only now, however, with the presentation of the Gina Light – a revolutionary experimental car skinned not with metal, but with a silver coloured elastic fabric – that this concept has taken tangible form. Even then, Bangle was already using the term Gina: an acronym standing for ‘geometry in an infinite number n of alternatives’. In Bangle’s mind, Gina was already a reality.

Saying that Gina Light is a ‘fabric car’, however, would be too simplistic. While the use of fabric – a very special, high tech fabric, to be precise – is one of the possibilities opened up by this new philosophy, it is not the only one. The fabric skin of this model is only a means of visualising the variability of future car design and, therefore, of a new formal language.

This iteration of Gina allows the creation of products with forms and functions that vary in relation to individual interpretation, to cater for the differing demands of future users. As Bangle puts it, “the Gina philosophy, in its short form, is about being flexible – thinking flexible, acting flexible – context over dogma, that’s it.”

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 172

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