Book List of the Week

Take Out the Word “Nude” and Insert the Word “Car”: Chris Bangle’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter May 17, 2011
Chris Bangle

Car designer Chris Bangle: Chris Bangle Associates (Turin)

book list

As one of the world’s most high-profile and influential car designers of the last two decades (BMW, Mini Cooper, Rolls Royce)—who now runs his own design and design management studio—Chris Bangle is a master of the bold statement. He sent us his book list in “top ten” greatest-hits format.

His top book on car design? Sir Kenneth Clark’s The Nude. (“You’ll never find a better description of what car design is all about . . . just take out the word ‘nude’ and insert the word ‘car’ and it all becomes crystal clear.”)

Top book on the creative process? Igor Stravinsky’s Poetics of Music.

On the relationship between Creative and Client? Eric Gill’s An Essay on Typography.

And it goes on from there, down to . . . Top book for making you wish you were 1/100th as creative as a true genius: Syd Mead’s Sentinel.

Shifting gears from the books Bangle has read, it’s worth mentioning that he has just finished writing one. No one will be surprised to hear that it’s his definitive statement on car design. But it probably will strike almost everyone as unexpected that it has no images and that it’s fiction. He plans to self-publish it.

When we asked him to give us some idea of the contents, he said: “I’m interested in Car Design as a culture in and of itself. What does it mean to be doing Car Design the ‘right way’? It’s not enough to predict a disastrous future for Car Design culture given its lamentable present condition, but requires a look at its idealistic past for a reference on ‘How Things Should Be.’ These three time frames work well when held together by a fictional story line, and my tale is a simple persiflage of a famous story we all know.”

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