That is until now. Bangle has reappeared with a very different project to all that have come before: a wacky Chinese city car concept called Redspace, which intends to reimagine the idea of space in the car.
Revealed at the LA motor show in November, the car, which Bangle and his team have been working on since 2014, is likely to make production by 2020. Bangle is optimistic that its design will change little, although he acknowledges that cost could be a hindrance.
So why did Bangle leave BMW? “I decided I had to leave BMW after 15 years – in the end it was 17. Not because I didn’t like BMW but because if I stayed, I knew I was going to change and it was not going to be pretty. Many car design chiefs I’ve known, they all end their careers badly. People get bitter, they hang on tooth and nail to keep control of their creativity.”
And so Bangle hatched a plan to set up his own design consultancy in Italy. BMW did ask that he didn’t design cars for a couple of years, and Bangle was happy to oblige. “For me, car design has very little to do with four wheels,” he says.
One of his first projects was overhauling a nursing home in Hiroshima, after its boss happened upon Bangle’s Italian studio. “A huge amount of car design thinking was in that project,” he says. “The place is booked out.” The unexpected projects don’t stop there. Bangle has designed packaging for Hennessy VSOP, saying the design had to be sympathetic to the cognac brand’s status as “an untouchable icon”.
He likened it to Mini’s successful relaunch, in which he was involved. The cognac project worked: “Hennessy love it. It’s one of its most lucrative offerings.” There have been superyachts too, even spaceships –the latter done “in full scale”.