Designworksusa - California based design consultancy?

Does anyone know about the design consultancy DesignworksUSA a subsidary of the BMW Group?

I read that they designed phones for NOKIA and of course cars for BMW.
I haven’t heard anything about them here in Europe - what is their reputation in the USA?
Thanks for giving me your opinion :slight_smile:.

I know little but here’s what I know.

They design very advanced things for both clients and BMW, things that are conceptual and probably won’t see in a couple of years. I had an issue of the BMW magazine which covered a little bit of them and they showed things like futuristic helmets, eye glasses with digital readouts and more. It seems to me that they don’t really touch on consumer products that you get to buy.

They have had major personnel changes at the top.
Had BMW move some people in and out to head the company.

Is Chuck Pelly still running the place?

If I am not wrong a lady is the head of design now.

If I’m not mistaken

Chuck Pell founded designworks, but if I’m not mistaken he has moved on to something else.

Adrian Vanhooydonk used to be the president of Design works, I think he was promoted to be the director of BMW design globaly and someone from BMW Germany was brought in to head designworks.

The Mini, 3 series, x5, new 5 series, 7 series, z3, z4, and z8 where all done at design works I believe.

I think they work on a lot of consumer electronics and some other transportation as well, trains, busses. But I have heard that the product studio is separate from the BMW strudio.

From what I have heard it is a great place to work with the upside of having a large corporate parent (cash, facilities), but the positives of being its own little thing out in Cali. Highly competitive to get in the door though.

although it’s been 4 years since the last post in this topic i am bringing it back as i need some info about the Designworks studio in Singapore this time.

i want to apply there (i know it is super competitive but who cares) and i wonder if any of you has any idea on what kind of projects the studio in Singapore is working on usually. I just want to know that so i can put in my portfolio projects that will be more related to their activities… do they work on consumer electronics? or on transportation (bmw stuff, or other)?
I did not get this kind of info from their website so any info from you it is really appreciated!

also! do you think it’s ok if i send a hard copy of my cv and a cd with a .pdf file of my portfolio or is it better to send a hard copy of my portfolio too?


Send hard copies for sure. Remember human resource people/hiring managers look at hundreds (thousands, even) of resumes. You get SECONDS of time in front of them, so they probably won’t open a CD.

Also, I don’t know other peoples thoughts on this, but I would leave out the BMW stuff. To me its like applying to Pixar, with nothing but your versions of Woody and Buzz Lightyear in your portfolio.


You get SECONDS of time in front of them, so they probably won’t open a CD.

exactly this is my concern… :wink: … so i will follow your advice! :smiley:

me its like applying to Pixar, with nothing but your versions of Woody and Buzz Lightyear in your portfolio.

yeah, i think i agree that sending a portfolio full of BMWs is a bit tacky… yet. i think that if i put some yacht design concepts it’s ok just to show also some transportation design orientation and interest

thanks a lot for your input

Hi you might be surprised, they don’t look for transportation designs in your folio. So unless you are 110% beyond sure that your trans work is damn hot, then only should you put it in. Remember they are a car design company first.

From what i understand the singapore studio does not focus on car design.

Also a little bird told me if you like to be considered, send in a portfolio of varied work that is super cool, interesting and different from the rest. Also make sure you sketch communication skills it top notch.

They see themselves as the best and only hire the best, so think about how you can prove that you are better than the rest.

Yep, a little bird told me.

Sounds like it would be wise to follow his advice…

lingmiester, say thanks from me to the little bird that gave you the tips. Also, i thank you for sharing them!

NURB, i think i will :wink:

They’ve always had a reputation for hiring people on contract, some while they are still in school, especially when they get swamped. When things slow down they are let loose, and go through the same process when they pick up again.

bringing it back again - would like more info/specifics on the mystery singapore studio. (since, as mentioned, the website has no real information and a couple email enquiries there have gone unanswered. search mostly shows old press releases.)


  • about how many people working there?
  • what disciplines (mostly product/id, or do they have graphics, gui, computer animation, research, strategy, engineering)
  • what emphasis or positioning (related to above - are they promoting themselves as trendy visualizers and sculptors of cool desirable objects? as technology savvy interface gurus? as broadly innovative design thinkers impacting and creating new business models? as global [hiring white expats and talking about apple and bmw] or as a local/regional answer to local/regional needs [hiring asians and talking about osim, lg, and manufacturing connections in china?] etc.)
  • how is business lately? (growing, shrinking, profitable, or supported by parent company, hiring, letting people go)
  • what’s their primary client base? (singaporean companies, s.e.a. companies, asian, global - medical, consumer electronics, sport, transport, cpg, etc. ?)

anyone have some answers or rumours to share? thank you!

Designwork did some proto-typing for me - alot of Art Center grads back then - skilled guys. That is when Pelly was in charge - both at the Agoura Hills facility and then at the impressive Newbury Park facility. I believe they had an affiliation with Magna out of Canada in the early 90’s (a top secret car project). Last year one of the Designworks folks told me that Pelly retired.

bringing it back again - would like more info/specifics on the mystery singapore studio.

Not sure how much of a mystery the Singapore studio is, its all there on the Designworks website. Shanghai - Designworks
The only time I visited Designworks was years ago when Henrik Fisker was heading it up. It was obvious to me that his head was already somewhere else - his move to Aston Martin followed a few months later. They did have a pretty awsome fullsize 1/2 clay, 1/2 finished model of the Z8 in a conference room. Didn’t look very busy then - were working on small scale office equipment, and large scale automotive projects.
Go ahead and contact Nico in Singapore, or Verena in USA. - Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

“…its all there on the Designworks website.” ??

i don’t see answers to any of my previously posted questions there. do you?

and as also previously posted, “…a couple email enquiries there have gone unanswered.” d.h. ja, ich hab’ schon zwei mal versucht, leider keine antwort von niko.