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      11-11-2012, 12:06 PM   #1
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Post A Profile of Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design

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A Profile of Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design
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Karim Habib has been in charge of BMW Design since June 2012. The Lebanon-born Canadian heads a team of designers and developers working to constantly enhance and redevelop the designs of current and future BMW models. A sophisticated designer who grew up in five countries with vastly different cultures, he is committed to the idea of evolving design and is always striving to expand his range of skills. To this end, he doesn’t merely apply himself to his immediate field; he also appreciates the more technical aspects of his work. The art of continuous self-improvement is one he developed early on as a member of the Canadian U-20 national fencing team and has put to use in various roles throughout his career. Apart from a short absence of two years, he has been part of the BMW Design team since 1998.

A passion for design.

The desire to give expression to his own aesthetic ideas came early to Karim Habib. Even as a child, he revealed his fondness for automobiles, enjoying nothing more than sketching cars and even creating his own marque, complete with a range of different models.

Karim Habib studied mechanical engineering at McGill University in Montreal and then focused on what would become his true passion – automotive design. He did postgraduate study at one of the most prestigious talent hotbeds for the automobile industry, the Art Center College of Design in Switzerland, also spending time at its USA branch. While working on a project there supervised by a tutor from the BMW Group, the budding designer had the opportunity to see at first hand the independent mentality of BMW Design. He was encouraged to question the design process itself and impressed his mentors with his daring and innovative work. Habib was won over by the fact that such a major car manufacturer was prepared to challenge and redefine accepted ways of thinking. Consequently, after finishing his studies, he started working for BMW’s Interior Design team, followed by spells in the Exterior Design and Advanced Design departments.

Design as a way of shaping your world.

For Karim Habib, consciously designing things is a means of expressing the desire to change the world according to his own values. This implies a close examination of both the product’s environment and each of its aspects, since these factors in turn have a decisive influence on the way he approaches his own environment. A pivotal moment in his career was the development of the BMW Concept CS show car, which was masterminded by him and unveiled in 2007. For this concept study of a four-door Gran Turismo, the convex/concave bodywork, so-called flame surfacing, was toned down – a new departure that influenced subsequent models of the BMW fleet.

Questioning fundamental factors continues to play an important role in successful development for the Canadian. He believes the evolution of design styles to be indispensable for long-term success, since only those who constantly challenge and reinvent themselves can survive and keep on improving. In order to ensure this happens, in his capacity as head of BMW Design he aims to implement a system that actively supports creative freedom. Moreover, he places great value on involving everybody engaged in the design process, from the actual designers to the engineers. He sees a comprehensive understanding of all employees’ roles as one of the keystones of successful design results and can call on the technical expertise from his mechanical engineering studies to help him in this.

On the personal side.

Karim Habib favours a pared-down design style. He is an admirer of the work of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Patricia Urquiola, as well as the architectural designs of Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & DeMeuron and Zaha Hadid. He is particularly fascinated by their intellectual involvement with their own work. The minimalism of Mark Rothko’s works is also a source of inspiration for him.

He and his partner live in Munich with their daughter.


Here are some recent videos featuring Karim.








Current BMW Group Design Department Heirarchy

The current BMW Group Design Department hierarchy chart looks like:

1.
Head of BMW Group Design (Adrian van Hooydonk)

1.5
Head of BMW Group Design Strategy & Advance Development (Verena Kloos)

2.
Head of BMW (Automobile) Design (Karim Habib)
Head of BMW M & Individual Design (Ulf Weidhase)
Head of BMW i Design (Benoit Jacob)
Head of MINI Design (Anders Warming)
Head of RR Motor Cars Design (Ian Cameron)
Head of BMW Motorcycles Design (Edgar Heinrich)
Head of BMW DesignworksUSA & California Studio (Laurenz Schaffer)

3.
Head of * Exterior Design (*BMW = empty; *MINI = Marcus Syring; *RR = Giles Taylor)
Head of * Interior Design (*BMW = Marc Girard; *MINI = Oliver Sieghart; *RR = Alan Sheppard)
Head of BMW DesignworksUSA Studios: Munich (Niko Saurma); Singapore (Magnus Aspegren); Shanghai (Gerhard Steinle)

4.
Head of Interior Trim, Colors & Materials
Head of Wheels Design
Head of Clay Modeling
Head of CAD/CAM Design





OTHER STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE
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      11-11-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
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Lebanese designing BMWs? WIN!!
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      11-11-2012, 12:34 PM   #3
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      11-11-2012, 12:46 PM   #4
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This is where the mix BMW DNA.
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      11-11-2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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Nice!
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      11-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #6
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Cool stuff
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      11-11-2012, 02:01 PM   #7
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BMW design team is like the U.N.
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      11-11-2012, 02:01 PM   #8
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No wonder all those "I'll race you in my M3" Lebanese guys have such an affinity for the brand.
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      11-11-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
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+1 for Lebanon!!!

We Lebanese people love our bimmers
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      11-11-2012, 02:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by US///M3 View Post
BMW design team is like the U.N.
Actually the U.N are a totally inefficient body, that excels only in holding interminable meetings and drinking gallons of tea and coffee.

Maybe that's why the new F30 sedan has such an incongruous side profile; 1/3 voted for the sports-car front part (low and broken hood), while the remaining 2/3 voted for a classic sedan form. The car is equally divided.

To mend things they're now rolling out a 4er Gran coupe.
The price tag reflects U.N. budget spending. Costly stuff.
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      11-11-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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To bad modern hood lines cannot remain as clean.
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      11-11-2012, 03:02 PM   #12
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He's Canadian!

Great job Karim!
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      11-11-2012, 03:10 PM   #13
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From a Lebanese American I love to hear this! The time I have spent in Beirut Lebanon I will say that everybody does have style
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      11-11-2012, 03:46 PM   #14
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+100000 Lebanon

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      11-11-2012, 04:00 PM   #15
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Love it!!!
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      11-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #16
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The only thing that worries me about him is that he seems to design cars with a lot of presence, which is not what BMW is about. Not even during the Bangle era were the cars really that flashy, they were just different. Of course presence may be the result of his design philosophy plus the safety regulations, so who knows.
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      11-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #17
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"He and his partner live in Munich with their daughter. "

Hmmm, are they trying to be ambiguous? It seems like this bit was just thrown in after the fact. Kinda made me go


Anyway, it's cool to see professional profiles of such people. It allows us to direct praise when things go right and, direct anger when things go wrong, haha. (Chris Bangle, lol)
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      11-11-2012, 06:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Lebanese designing BMWs? WIN!!
double win!!!
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      11-11-2012, 07:06 PM   #19
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Great profile!
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      11-11-2012, 08:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GiorgioIr View Post
Lebanese designing BMWs? WIN!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by e92driva View Post
+1 for Lebanon!!!

We Lebanese people love our bimmers
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmurphy2 View Post
From a Lebanese American I love to hear this! The time I have spent in Beirut Lebanon I will say that everybody does have style
Quote:
Originally Posted by haitham87 View Post
+100000 Lebanon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cfrem15 View Post
Love it!!!
+100000000

Ahleeeeen bel shabeb, I love how all the Lebanese people randomly appear
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      11-11-2012, 09:48 PM   #21
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We Lebanese people love our bimmers
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      11-12-2012, 12:25 AM   #22
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Nice profile.
I was going to study automotive design at the Pasadena art center, which is the sister school of the art center design in Switzerland. Best two schools ever!
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