What happens if one of the most celebrated and divisive car designers of recent decades lets his attention slip towards forms that are unusual to him, linked to the everyday nature of common tools and therefore apparently simpler and more ordinary? Usually, a collection is born when designed together with a big home lifestyle brand, in a variety of small domestic accessories. When it comes to Chris Bangle, however, everything is overturned. As soon as you meet him in Milan, amidst the sketches that stand out like paintings on the walls or that shine neatly under the display cases, he starts a discussion on the “personality” of physical things: certainly not in the sense of a “distinctive aesthetic figure”, but referring to the set of character qualities of a living being. «What personality can a bow have?» he begins amusingly.

Architectural structures of time immemorial, omniscient cornerstones, professorial fountain pens and even a seductive pair of pin-up scissors become the players of an elaborate comic strip, actors in a complex narrative (governed by the “Fabula Rerum”, a thirty-thousand-word volume that defines the rules of their universe), never giving in to the temptation of displaying anthropomorphic traits. In other words, the “Inanimatti”.

The idea, which germinated in 2013 during a trip to Croatia, evolved five years later into a short animated film produced by India’s Anibrain, “Sheara”, after the name of the very seductive scissors. Very soon then, an entire series might become a reality. In the meantime, a profound change has taken over at Chris Bangle Associated.

«Together with my invaluable colleagues, I invented a game: each of us had to identify with a product, for example a washing machine, and try to understand how it felt. One boy who played a refrigerator was stuck to the wall for a while and when he moved away, he said he felt his back was a bit bare! Joking aside, thanks to this method we changed the way we work. We now adopt the concept of “Objectomy”, which means imagining the dreams, thoughts and points of view of objects in order to design them in the best possible way, while discovering something about ourselves as users». That’s why, when asked how distant this all seems from car design, Bangle now responds piercingly: «Giving objects a soul is just another form of car design!»