The new BMW “GINA” car stands for “Geometry and functions In ‘N’ Adaptations” and it is part of a project started in 2001. It represents the challenging route from a vision to a concept. The architectonic aim of transforming a vision to reality makes this car one of the most outstanding designs today.
How does it work? The answer is in the material used for the skin. A coated structural fabric that consists of a woven base cloth stabilized and protected by a coating on both sides. The flexible, stretchable, water-resistant, translucent, man-made fabric skin – polyurethane-coated Spandex, is resilient and durable. It resists high or low temperatures, does not swell or shrink and the movement does not slacken or damage the fabric. This material is currently used in architecture. The Manchester Etihad Stadium by BDP is a good example of what this material could achieve. It has 1,500 sq m of canopies made of this material that work as the stage cover.
Its skin appears seamless, but it can “grow” a higher rear spoiler for stability at high-speed. Its doors open in a butterfly style and the access to the engine can be gained through a slit that can open in the middle of the bonnet.
Several electric and hydraulic actuators control the shape of the frame. Essential shapes are formed beneath the skin by an aluminum wire structure. At points where movement is needed (ducts, door openings, spoiler) flexible carbon struts are used. For instance, the headlights are revealed when small motors pull the fabric back. As the fabric is translucent the tail lights shine through it.
This lightweight design requires far less energy to produce than traditional BMW models and the overall car weight is significantly reduced, making it far more fuel-efficient. The synthesis of its physical elegance and sheer driving pleasure expressed by the appearance of the GINA Light Visionary Model has a striking emotional impact, just as a building would have.