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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Design: BMW Flashes Their Hot Cloth-Covered GINA -- Six Years Late

By Noah Mallin

So this is what BMW designers come up with when nobody is around. The GINA, just unveiled (if that's the right term) by the Bavarian company, was actually put together six years ago as an advanced design study by Chris Bangle's team. Yes that is high tech cloth subbing for stiff body panels covering GINA's frame. It can be split down the middle of the "hood" to get to the engine (top photo) and the rear spoiler and doors stretch and bunch the fabric at full extension.

The effect, especially in silver, is a bit Zeppelin-like but fascinating all the same. Designers often try to capture the tension of stretched fabric in sheet metal and Bangle simply eliminates the secondary medium. The solution for the taillights is ingeniously simple. Overall this is a brilliantly visionary design, impractical though it may be.

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