Originally Posted by Dormouse
What is so "difficult" about Bangle's "innovation?" Do you find the Bangle Butt so incomprehensible?
Incomprehensible, no. Ugly, yes. And poorly integrated into the form as a whole compared to the similarly bulbous rear ends on recent Renaults.
As for comparing the two, you might as well bring in Raymond Loewy into the conversation if you'll be so obtuse as to compare the portfolios of a fledgling with a veteran like Quement.
I'm no expert on automotive design history but I became aware of them both at about the same time. PlQ thanks to the sensational Renault Twingo of 1993, and Chris Bangle thanks to his one design so far that hasn't massively sucked, the quirky and interesting Coupe Fiat of 1994. Even if PlQ was involved in previous Renaults, which I assume he was, the Twingo was the first one that really showed the direction in which Renault was going to move under his baton. So it's odd to me to consider PlQ a veteran and CB a newbie, and even sillier to throw in someone like Raymond Loewy into the discussion.
Quement was attacked in a rather heavy manner, even more so than Bangle, for his, yes, "innovative" design.
I don't doubt in 1955 there were many reactionaries who somehow failed to share the views of Roland Barthes
on the sublime CitroÃ«n DS as well. Innovation is not only nice, it's necessary. And I thank Quement doubly, because seeing traditionally stodgy Renault take on a worldwide leadership role in automotive design has finally
prompted Citroen to quit sucking and get back to regaining the lead they had over the rest of the world when their lineup was the 2CV, Traction-then-DS, and H-Van. One gets the feeling that until recently CitroÃ«n was thought of by its heads as Peugeot's ugly step-child.
The similarities are, in fact, uncanny.
And the differences are as dramatic as the differences between Helmut Lang and Jil Sander compared to one trick ponies such as Hedi Slimane or Thom Browne... Or to put it another way, between design and styling. Helmut Lang cultivated an aesthetic that could only be his. Thom Browne took a thrift store suit that was too small for him and hacked off the sleeves and pants a bit more. Likewise, Quement has fairly relentlessly pursued a very specific and novel aesthetic, whereas BMW under Bangle has endured such hells as flame surfacing and the bizzare idea that mulit-level menus are appropriate to use in a potential murder weapon through iDrive.
He had several notable flops during his career, namely the Megane and the Avantime. His designs were deemed ugly at the time and still are by some.
The Megane II a failure? Hardly. In its class, it's easily the second- or third- best looking car after the Alfa 147 (another seemingly one-hit wonder, given its designer's output to date at Subaru) and possibly the Volvo C30. Is it one those instant-classic designs that gets you swooning on first sight? It wasn't for me. On paper, I actually hated it. When I started seeing them in person, PlQ's reconceptualization of the midsized car began to make more and more sense. I saw visual links to cars from France's unequaled automotive past, such as the CitroÃ«n Ami-6, but recomposed in a way that was entirely contemporary. (And, it must be said, in a far less ugly manner than the hapless Ami.) Surely you don't think that God awful BMW 1-series is in the same ballpark? The Avantime I actually think was kind of cool conceptually. I see no reason to hate on it compared to the questionable stuff being disgorged from all the German marques right now. However, it was what it was: a fairly transparent attempt to make work for Matra's factory using the running-gear and platform they were already using for the Renault Espace they had just stopped building. Besides, the only thing dumber than the concept of a "cool" minivan is a "cool" truck/SUV. Yet somehow the first concept failed as a little bit too precious (too French?) and the second managed to tap into the rampaging barbarian core of less-evolved people's psyches. Go figure.
I can't fathom how you would deem Bangle as "gratuitous" when Quement's designs are far more, how shall we deem it, out there? I am a fan of his for precisely the same reasons I support Bangle.
"Out there" is certainly no vice. However, PlQ seems to take a design approach, engineering simplicity into his designs and letting their forms speak for themselves without needing to create some sort of pseudointellectual framework in attempts to get people to see them as anything but the latest naked Emperor. Chris Bangle takes a styling approach, slashing into his designs' sheetmetal with the CAD equivalent of a machete and calling it art. (Not to mention the injury done to BMW's once ruthlessly logical if somewhat soulless interiors under his watch!) Imagine, for a moment, the Z4 without that stupid gash hacked out of its flanks and the "concinnity" bullshit he conjured around it. It would almost be a modern take on the Triumph TR-6! (As an aside, doesn't BMW own the Triumph name now? When either Bangle comes to his senses or he is replaced by someone better, I would love to see BMW resurrect that marque.) Unfortunately, Bangle took all the bad parts of the Coupe Fiat (the stupid and gratuitous slashes, which morphed into his so called "flame surfacing" nonsense) and nothing else from that design into his BMW's.