Unique: Adrian Van Hooydonk & Oliver Heimler On the Way forward for MINI & BMW Design


As a lot as the 2 manufacturers symbolize totally different beliefs within the market, BMW and MINI are pushed by an identical ethos of efficiency, design and know-how. To get a greater understanding what the place each BMW design and the MINI model are headed, we On the event of the MINI Aceman idea launch we sat down with each Adrian van Hooydonk (Head of BMW Design) and Oliver Heimler (Head of MINI Design) to speak about each manufacturers and the way forward for the trade.

Given MINI Aceman idea is massively essential for MINI, we dove deep into the brand new automotive’s radical departure from the MINI model and within the course of uncovered some hints at the place BMW is headed. As an example MINI’s want to maneuver away from chrome and leather-based is completely one thing BMW is following within the years forward. Additional MINI’s new minimal design route can also be one thing BMW is studying from because it seems to be to introduce a brand new design language with the Neue Klasse of automobiles.

It was a splendidly free flowing dialog and each unlocked a few of the pondering behind the way forward for BMW design, MINI’s new design route and the Aceman itself..

Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future
Adrian Van Hooydonk, Head of all BMW Group Design

BimmerFile – In your phrases, inform us what does the Aceman inform us about the way forward for MINI and the BMW Group?

Adrian Van Hooydonk – Trade going by adjustments and most aren’t going away. For us as designers this represents the chance. When tech change, designers could make larger, bolder adjustments in design and we’re about to try this in all of our manufacturers. It additionally has a robust connection to the unique 1959 in philosophy. Within the subsequent few months you’ll see these sort of huge leaps with all of our manufacturers. 

The Aceman offers us clues the place the MINI model will go combining electrification and digitalization and heritage. This present automotive does all of that. 

It particularly reveals a brand new stage of digitalization. In the meanwhile it’s not so good in that space however this shall be an amazing bounce. 

1660238716 324 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future
Oliver Heimler, Head of MINI Design

BF – What impressed you to make such a daring transfer with MINI?

Oliver Heimler – Our aim is to be totally electrical by 2030 (early 2030s within the US). The Aceman fills the hole between the Countryman and the forthcoming electrical MINI Cooper which comes subsequent yr. Many markets have been asking for a bigger Countryman which has opened house for one thing smaller within the household.

This was a giant alternative to enter a brand new route when it comes to type language, making every of the characters distinctive. The Mini Cooper is the icon internally and needs to be developed extra rigorously. The countryman needs to be for the household. The Aceman is a brand new member of the family that’s recent and younger – the sting is what we name it internally 

1660238716 586 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF – How does the MINI Aceman evaluate to the Countryman or BMW X1 when it comes to dimension?

Oliver Heimler – Electrification was an enabler for what mini stands for – maximize inside quantity. The Aceman is barely shorter than the primary era countryman however way more inside house. Our method for the MINI Cooper shall be totally different, we all know we have to maintain it as small as attainable.

Adrian Van Hooydonk – Satirically making one thing smaller takes extra time and power

1660238716 218 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF – How a lot can MINI experiment with the form of its automobiles?

Oliver Heimler – Proportions are essential and should be proper. However type language is the place we see there are possibilities for experimentation. We’re nicely conscious of these implausible proportions MINI has. Wheels within the nook, brief overhangs and so forth. So long as we’re driving my ourselves we will’t lose.

The primary Countryman did one thing totally different than the hatch but it surely stayed true to these proportions.

Adrian Van Hooydonk – The household look is essential for our manufacturers. However throughout the household we’d like distinct characters not that totally different than an actual household.

1660238716 635 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF – What’s the greatest problem in redefining the design language of a model the place heritage issues a lot? 

Oliver Heimler – This query is one thing we work on day-after-day! We began three initiatives similar time occupied with this query. A part of the MINI historical past is disruption – (Alec) Issigonis didn’t care about what got here earlier than when he designed the unique.

For us, it’s how do take care of these components after we don’t want all of them. We’re at all times attempting issues and asking what remains to be essential – which is what’s Issigonis requested. What do you want for a contemporary automotive at present and what’s MINI about it?

1660238716 466 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

The Cooper would be the successor of the hatch. It would nonetheless function deep spherical headlights – these are a few of the components we gained’t contact.

This new automotive is extra high-tech than ever but it surely’s so simple as the unique 1959 Mini. Due to that design shall be nearer to the unique however will really feel all new.


The Aceman shall be most compact automobile within the section. It ought to seem like it punches above its weight – like the unique. It has a sure edginess and really feel that it may do greater than you’d assume

We love this model – we need to maintain it. It’s the one model on the earth that everybody loves! Whereas Alec Issigonis did this in a single automotive… we’ve achieved that throughout a household of MINIs.


BF: What pushed you to be so radically easy with the inside?

Oliver Heimler – With the inside we checked out 1959 for inspiration and paid no consideration to any iterations between then and now. Within the authentic there’s a steering wheel, a central an a toggle bar. With this new household it’s the identical factor. With digitization we have been in a position to obtain that actual expertise as the unique Mini.

The staff fell in love with the toggle bar from the unique 1959 automotive. We even introduced again the turn-key as a motion to activate the automotive. The design staff wished to convey again a tactile expertise that felt linked to the unique. We’re nonetheless human beings and we wished to maintain this tactile expertise.

1660238717 585 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF: Inform us about electrification, vary and the way it’s impacted the way in which you design for the BMW Group?

Adrian Van Hooydonk – Battery tech is progressing quickly. MINI was the primary ev from the BMW Group and we realized rather a lot from it. We additionally realized rather a lot from its successor the BMW i3. We realized about vary anxiousness and the way clients at all times drove lower than they thought they’d.

We’ve additionally leaned that when the general public sees a small automotive they don’t anticipate an enormous vary at this level. However nonetheless we’ve pushed for as a lot vary as attainable and optimized for aero due to it. Moreover we’ll see a brand new era of battery with these automobiles that can enable for an enormous leap in vary.

1660238717 586 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF – What impressed you to The Greatest Design Change Because the R50? What are the challenges with making such a radical departure?

Adrian Van Hooydonk – Zietgiest – we’re residing in a world that’s altering in double velocity. You both go at that velocity or get left behind. Once you go electrical you need to make a giant step. 

It additionally relies upon what stage the model is at. BMW confirmed respect for the model and the heritage and it grew to become successful. Rigorously BMW added new members of the family that stayed shut – possibly too near the oringal. Now we will say MINI is established in markets the place the unique as by no means offered.

Now we will have the boldness to make every character within the household robust and distinctive. In fact there shall be a core MINI however round it we will transfer just a little extra free. 

These possibilities warrant an even bigger step and extra braveness That is about turning the web page when it comes to MINI design

1660238717 647 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF: How essential is being small to the way forward for MINI?

Oliver Heimler – The Countryman is designed round households. And we’ve heard from house owners they want more room. With the hatch our aim was totally different – to make it smaller than earlier than. Essential for a lot of causes however key’s the driving dynamics 

We additionally attempt to cut back as many elements as attainable to make issues easier and lighter. As an example the Aceman’s door panels are very simple to maintain issues easier and lighter for each manufacturing and weight each additionally with sustainability in thoughts.


Adian Van Hooydonk – We need to supply the smallest automotive within the section. With the hatch we are going to at all times attempt to make it smaller. It’s solely security laws that make the brand new hatch bigger than the unique. We might make as small than the unique however crash customary get in the way in which.

We’re ready to go the additional mile. design at all times begin with a superb proportion and each our designers and engineers perceive that.

International necessities maintain shifting the aim posts however we by no means surrender on that.


BF – What’s the motivation in shifting away from chrome and leather-based and can BMW Comply with?

Oliver Heimler – Lets discuss chrome – after we began with the brand new gen we began with a inventive mindset. Began with these 4 mindsets:

  • Heartbeat
  • Curiosity 
  • Repsonbliity 
  • Daredevil 

We consider chrome isn’t trendy anymore. Not for a younger recent model. It additionally takes a whole lot of power to provide and we have a look at the environmental affect throughout each element. We’re centered on zero emissions on the tailpipe however we need to go additional and take into consideration the whole lot that goes into the automotive.

With all this in thoughts MINI Design staff felt robust that the model ought to go no leather-based and chrome – which shall be a primary for the BMW Group.

The textile within the sprint and within the door is one concept we’ve got to interchange these. This additionally permits or new concepts. Presently there’s zero probability to alter colours in your automotive. Sooner or later you may change the colour the yarn and material simply which may change the look of the automotive.


Oliver Heimler – The R50 is the grandson of the unique. The Aceman is the totally new member of the family. With this automotive we had extra freedom just like the unique Countryman.

We wished to outline an ideal character. It’s not the youthful brother to the Countryman however defining one thing totally totally different. What we did within the design course of was to do clinics and get suggestions from present clients and younger potential clients. The suggestions we received was overwhelmingly that lastly MINI is getting younger and recent.

1660238718 155 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF – How are you innovating in Digital Connectivity?

Oliver Heimler – Gentle performed a big function – how does that relate to the mini model shifting ahead?

Digitalization is providing alternatives to simplify know-how. At MINI if we’re doing one thing for the client it has to really feel human. It’s not simply lighting however animation, projections and sound. 

It’s occurring inside and out of doors. The taillights – a giant matter at MINI is personalization. We noticed a chance to present buyer what lighting signature the client wish to have. That’s the thought behind the matrix lights which may change based mostly on what a buyer desires.

The idea is personalization in a pleasant and playful method. The expertise creates an environment round you that goes past perform. This occurred similtaneously we had determined to scale back the dashboard.

1660238718 387 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future

BF – How is MINI creating one thing distinctive as google and apple struggle to take over the in-vehicle expertise? 

Adrian Van Hooydonk – We need to do automobile interface ourselves. Now we have a robust and rising UI and UX staff and you need to do it as a part of your model design.

We are going to enable Carplay and Android Auto but when we have been at hand over keys to Apple and Google, they wouldn’t go the additional mile to make it match the model expression we’ve got rigorously crafted. 

Oliver Heimler – We’ve created a match that’s significantly better however you even have a pure connection to our model new MINI app. It’s all an expertise that’s all model particular.

The forthcoming personalised expertise mode provides issues that these corporations by no means might. A few of these modes are linked to the driving dynamics – one other benefit we see for us. 

Whereas we’ve got a fantastic relationship with Apple and Google, we’re a small participant to them. 

JCW GP electric

Will JCW stay an essential a part of the model?

Oliver Heimler – That work is ongoing however not outlined fairly but. I had the prospect to drive the brand new Cooper and was simply fascinated. The structure is so good for driving dynamics… it’s much more go-kart feeling than at present’s automotive.  

1660238719 879 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future
Oliver Heimler within the the MINI Strip idea.

How a lot is sustainability influencing MINI & BMW design selections shifting ahead? 

Oliver Heimler – In the whole lot we will we begin by asking, is this concept sustainable or not? If not, it’s achieved. Aesthetics don’t overrule sustainability at MINI.

Whereas the supplies you contact is likely to be sustainable what about what’s beneath – that is what we’re occupied with throughout the BMW Group 

We need to design even for disassembly. It’s not simple as a result of we additionally want our suppliers to assume this fashion. The MINI Strip allowed us to get extra concepts in that route. 

Adrian Van Hooydonk – We are able to now fully recycle aluminum forged wheels and switch them into new ones as an illustration. Each design we create we take into consideration the power that can go into forming that form and is it value it?

Do you see going electrical and turning into extra sustainable is a method for MINI to develop?

Oliver Heimler – We consider the world will flip extra within the route of mini… the world is turning into extra MINI (stated smiling).

1660238719 814 Exclusive Adrian Van Hooydonk Oliver Heimler On the Future


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *