BMW Head of Design explains the history of kidney grilles

Reshaping iconic designs will never be easy. Human beings are reluctant to change and that means it will always take a lot of energy to get into motion. Whether physically or mentally, changing the status quo will always require extra work. BMW knows this and the company’s backlash in unveiling the new ‘extra-large’ kidney grills we see on some cars today has been overwhelming.

However, a business that does not innovate, that does not risk anything, will be more likely to fail. That’s why BMW decided to try something new. Domagoj Dukec, the head of BMW Design, has been the center of attention of all critics so far and, in an interesting turn of events, he decided to address some of them directly. Therefore, when a teenage critic wrote to BMW CEO Oliver Zipse complaining about the design of the new cars, swift action was taken.

BMW 4 Series Track 97 830x553

Below is a 19-minute video in which BMW’s design manager actually explains why the kidney grilles ended up looking like they are today. It’s a pretty incredible effort to present the brand’s story and its creations via a live stream, in the room of one of the company’s fans. It’s also quite interesting how the dialogue plays out, with Dukec calmly explaining the reasoning behind this very important decision.

One key detail needs to be mentioned, something some people are aware of, but others do not yet realize. The design of a car is not written by the man in charge of the whole division. As Dukec explains, he stopped drawing a long time ago. What we see on the road today is the collective effort of some 120 people under his supervision.

Of course, he takes responsibility for the end result, but he wasn’t necessarily the one who designed it in the first place. Now let’s take a look at this walk through the history of BMW designs.

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