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Founded (1972)
Founder Charles Pelly
Headquarters India Park, California, Newbury Park, CA[1]
Key people
Holger Hampf, President
Number of employees
130+ (2010)
Parent BMW

Designworks is a global creative consultancy owned by BMW and based in Newbury Park, California, United States. Designworks has two further studios, in Munich, Germany and Shanghai, China. Established independently in 1972 by Charles Pelly, it was acquired by BMW in 1995 and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW Group. The current president is Holger Hampf. The company has designed items such as the U.S. Olympic Team’s bobsleds and Singapore Airlines’ first class cabins.[2]

It is a BMW subsidiary which was established by Charles Pelly, who brought DesignWorksUSA from a start-up operation in his garage and made it one of the top ten consultancies in the world. Headquartered in the city of Newbury Park, California, DesignworksUSA also operates an office in Munich, Germany. It became a wholly owned BMW Group subsidiary in 1995, and was instrumental in the design of the BMW XL Sports Activity Vehicle and the BMW 5 Series. Other development projects at DreamWorks have included the BMW electric car, BMW 850 seat, BMW E46 3 Series, BMW Z8, BMW 7 Series interior, BMW Zeta show car, BMW E46 3 Series, and BMW 100- and 1200 Touring motorcycles, among many others.[3]

It is one of three BMW-owned facilities in California.[4]


The design studio was founded in 1972 by designer Charles Pelly[5] with the name DesignworksUSA (renamed Designworks in 2015). The company began in Malibu Canyon with three designers and early customers included Hyster and the Otis Elevator Company.[citation needed]

In 1978, the company expanded and moved to Van Nuys, and set up its first sister studio, D2, in Detroit. In 1986, Designworks designed the seats for the BMW 8 Series (E31), which was the company's first involvement with BMW. In the same year, the company moved to Agoura. In 1988, Designworks moved to Newbury Park, and began designing for Nokia and Siemens.[citation needed]

BMW ownership[edit]

In 1991, BMW acquired a large percentage of the company, and Designworks started its first car exterior design project in 1993 for the 1998 BMW 3 Series (E46). In May 1995, BMW purchased the remaining percentage of Designworks. At this time artist David Hockney painted an Art Car in the studio. In 1998, Designworks opened a studio in Munich, and in 1999, Henrik Fisker was named president.

In 2001, Adrian van Hooydonk became president. In 2002, Designworks expanded its automotive studio in Newbury Park.

Verena Kloos was president from 2004 to 2009. In January 2006, the company opened a new studio in Singapore, and in 2007 unveiled their new studio wing in Newbury Park. On December 1, 2009, Laurenz Schaffer, formerly director of Designworks's Munich studio, became president. In April 2012, Designworks opened a new studio in Shanghai.[6]

From 1 August 2016 Oliver Heilmer was appointed as the new president of Designworks. He remained in the role until 2017, when he moved to Munich to take over responsibility of MINI Design. The current president of Designworks is Holger Hampf. Appointed in the role on 1 September 2017, Holger originally joined Designworks in 1998, responsible for Product Design. From 2002 to 2010 he was a member of Designworks management team in Los Angeles.[7]

Designworks has worked with a wide and varied range of clients including Embraer,[8] Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Boeing Business Jets, Pilatus, John Deere, Advanced Medical Optics, BAVARIA Yachts, Dornbracht, Acer, Head and Singapore Airlines.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jacobus, John L. (2013). The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild: An Illustrated History. McFarland. Page 180. ISBN 9780786493388.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Jacobus, John L. (2013). The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild: An Illustrated History. McFarland. Page 180. ISBN 9780786493388.
  4. ^ Winden, Willem van and Leo van den Berg (2010). Manufacturing in the New Urban Economy. Routledge. Page 105. ISBN 9781136943362.
  5. ^ "BMW's Idea Lab: Driving Design For More Than Cars". Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  6. ^ Neil, Dan (May 5, 2012). "The Ferrari With The Dragon Tattoo". The Wall Street Journal. p. D2.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Gerzanics, Mike (27 April 2010), "FLIGHT TEST: Embraer Phenom 300", Flightglobal, Reed Business Information, archived from the original on 4 May 2012, retrieved 28 March 2015