From today's New York Times
December 14, 2010, 3:00 pm
BMW Names New Head of Exterior Design
By PHIL PATTON
Karim Habib was named BMW Automobiles’ new head of exterior design on Tuesday. He will assume the post next March.Karim Habib, the designer behind the BMW 7 Series and 2007 Concept CS, is returning to the brand after defecting in March 2009 to Mercedes-Benz. Mr. Habib, 39, will become head of exterior design, succeeding Anders Warming, who left to lead design efforts at Mini. Mr. Habib had been head of advanced design at Mercedes, working under the design chief Gorden Wagener. Previously, he was team leader for advanced design at BMW.
Born in Beirut, Mr. Habib lived in France, Greece and Iran before his family settled in Montreal. There he attended McGill University and earned a degree in mechanical engineering before moving to the Art Center College of Design’s European campus in Switzerland. He later completed his degree in transportation design at Art Center’s main campus in Pasadena, Ca., then joined BMW.
Mr. Habib was a protégée of the former BMW design chief Christopher Bangle, who sent him to Italy to work with a veteran clay modeler during development of the 7 Series. Mr. Bangle wanted Mr. Habib to balance his sense of engineering by learning the attention to detail, surface and form that characterized the classic tradition of carrozzerie, or Italian coachbuilders. Mr. Habib has said that he was inspired by Munich’s architecture, from its palaces to the soccer stadium of Herzog and de Meuron.
For the 7 Series, he told interviewers that he sought a combination of presence, elegance and sport. The Concept CS, shown in Shanghai in 2007, was widely regarded as a preview of BMW’s future design language.
“I’m really delighted about coming back to the BMW brand and being given the opportunity to help shape the future of BMW as part of an outstanding team,” Mr. Habib said in a press release. Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s group design director, added, “Karim Habib is an excellent designer who has already made a major contribution to the BMW design with the current BMW 7 Series. I look forward to resuming our collaboration.”
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