Reinventing Luxury with Chris Bangle


At the recent Pratt Institute Design Symposium 2021 on Re-Inventing Luxury held at the Whitney Museum in New York City, car designer and thinker Chris Bangle shared his thoughts on creating a new narrative around luxury design. Car Design News publishes his talk here 

Most people know me as a car designer, but teapots are objects just as automobiles are, and objects are the biggest branch of design within luxury. Teapots, cars, to me car design is about creating personality and this little teapot (fig.1) exudes character: it’s dying to tell me all about why I should want it, besides making tea. Its designer didn’t just give it a function, he infused it with meaning, and that’s what we designers do, we provide meaning by “controlling your minds”. 

What part do we control? The part that says: “I like! I want!” Heck, we can convince you of anything – like 10,000 years of “More is More” should really be “Less is more”. We control the narrative – everything about design is a narrative––even the shapes and materials––not just the backstory about how it was made. You’ve heard the term “visual narrative”? If you’ve ever described something as looking “dynamic”, or “aggressive”, or even “confused”––you are extracting meaning from the visual narrative; how it looks is how it talks to you. 

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