Samsung design consultant
By Kim Yoo-chul
Chris Bangle, the former chief of design at BMW, is planning to meet Samsung Electronics’ top decision makers to discuss a partnership details with the group.
It is the second time for the world-renowned designer to hold strategic business meetings with high ranking Samsung executives since they sealed contracts in March.
``Bangle will visit Samsung’s headquarters in Seocho-dong, downtown Seoul, on October 4 and discuss expanded tie-ups with Samsung’s top management,’’ said a Samsung official, Friday.
The official added Bangle will meet Samsung Electronics chief operating officer (COO) and President Lee Jae-yong, who is also heir-apparent of the nation’s most powerful industrial conglomerate.
``Because this is Bangle’s second visit, the meeting will be more intense and tangible results are expected,’’ he said.
A Samsung spokesman confirmed the meeting itself but declined to comment whether or not the American will meet with Lee.
Since March this year, Bangle has been designing Samsung’s future laptops and smartphones ― two businesses that have the full support of Samsung Electronics Chief Executive Choi Gee-sung.
Samsung is widely seen to become the world’s biggest handset maker by the end of this year by nudging past long-time champion Nokia of Finland and drastic growth of its PC business over the last few years is thanks to good consumer responses from the developing to developed markets.
The contract with Bangle was struck in line with Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s design-focused initiatives.
With Bangle’s insight, Samsung hopes to beef up its competitiveness in design for its consumer products including home appliances, as well as phones and PCs.
Bangle works from his studio in Italy, not in Seoul. Design has emerged as a decisive factor to better appeal to current and potential clients because consumers tend to have preferences for products with sleek and fancy designs, according to Samsung officials.
The significance of design is seen in other areas ― Apple has sued Samsung in various courts in Europe and Australia, claiming that its smartphones and tablets copied important design elements of Apple products.
``One thing that I can confirm is that the so-called `Bangle projects’ have been underway and the results will be coming soon,’’ said another Samsung official, asking not to be identified.
Bangle worked for BMW on some models which were touted as revolutionary in design.
His designs are not easy to digest for the average audience. One of his projects was the BMW E65 7 Series.
In 2009, Bangle left BMW, where he had been head of design since 1992, saying that he wanted to design consumer electronics. Samsung Electronics approached him but details of his contract are not known.