Bayerische Motoren Werke X Monocle

The art of owning the moment

Mobility pioneer BMW has set out to redefine the meaning of luxury on its own terms as it gears up to launch a new range of vehicles for an increasingly discerning and international customer. Across these pages, BMW and Monocle will take you for spin in four fine new vehicles, all built to enrich life: the 7, X7, 8 coupé and 8 convertible. Along the way we’ll meet a global cast of creative thinkers aligning themselves with the German brand and sharing their views on luxury, and join BMW in its pursuit of creating unique moments for those who get in touch with the brand and its new models. On its way to a new kind of luxury, BMW has set out its own optimistic and brave manifesto. So before we proceed, the brand will introduce its aims.

BMW’s manifesto
Let’s talk about courage and why we need it more than ever. Courage is independent and disruptive. It questions, shatters and awakens. We need bold, courageous voices, all of us. We need fresh thinkers with optimism. We believe in the frontrunners, the avant garde, those who fight stagnation and backwardness. Courage only knows moving forward, driving the pioneers of our culture to inspire tomorrow, to create a sublime kind of now and reach a superior level of excellence. This is where
a new kind of luxury is born.

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Pieter Nota
Member of the board of management of BMW AG, Sales and Brand BMW

Nota heads up BMW’s sales and brand offering, driving conversation around luxury into new realms. Within the fine architecture of the company’s global hub, BMW Welt in Munich, he discusses the evolving nature of the business. On his mind is the precision-led design applied to the newest range of luxury BMW vehicles and how the brand’s experiential mindset is catering to a smart global audience. He’s keen to point out that the core of BMW’s success lies in its passion for creating emotional moments, including the pure, joyful experience of being behind the wheel of one of its high-end vehicles.

Q We’re sitting in front of the BMW luxury models, which now includes the new X7. Where do these fit into your brand world?
We are in the middle of a significant new product rollout. The company has invested a lot in the past year to renew and refresh our product portfolio, and part of this is to step up in the very upper segment of the luxury market. To complement our 7 limousine we recently added the 8 coupé and 8 convertible. The addition of the X7, which is our new model in the luxury sports activity segment, tops our very successful X model range.

Q BMW Welt is not only defined by these vehicles but also its incredible architecture. You’ve recently developed an area to showcase these models with Patricia Urquiola. Is BMW a design-minded brand?
We have always excelled in the space between luxury and sporty design, so aesthetics are written deeply in our brand identity. We have an excellent design team under the leadership of Adrian van Hooydonk and also partner with great external designers, such as Patricia Urquiola, who designed this space. The 3D-printed pattern on the floor reflects our passion for precision and our modern interpretation of luxury.

Q Wellbeing is a theme that feeds into BMW’s idea of luxury. How do you make that link between wellbeing and wellness with a vehicle?
A It has a lot to do with design and the materials we use. We think, “When you enter our car, how should you feel?” When you get into an X7, you are struck by the space but you also feel the craftsmanship of the interior. The 7 Series experience is more than just driving or mobility: it’s also about being in a place where you can sit back and relax. Entering an 8 Series coupé is like stepping into a made-to-measure suit – you feel very well dressed in that car.

Q This new range of vehicles is being sought after by a global market. While the 7 is popular in the cities of Asia, the X7 is more suited for big American roads. What similarities do the people buying them share?
Our luxury customers are independent decision makers. In China, for example, the average buyer of a 7 Series is in their late thirties. They have made it in the business world and by driving a BMW, they are demonstrating their independence. Our technological and innovation leadership resonates with them and they connect to that through the driving performance of our cars and the in-car technology, which fits seamlessly with their online world.

Q How do you nurture a pioneering spirit at BMW?
We stimulate and challenge ourselves, and are always at the forefront of technology. We were one of the first car companies to include sustainability in our definition of luxury with our i8 model.

Q You want to significantly increase sales of luxury-class products for BMW by 2022. How will you do this?
A We are doing this through what we call the substance of our proposition. We’re extending our portfolio of vehicles with the X7, creating significant additional volume. The 8 Series is positioned deliberately above the 7 Series to go the extra mile. The final element is investment in relationship-building and service in order to excite our high-end luxury customers.



Joyce Wang
On designing for comfort and wellbeing.

Hong Kong-based designer Joyce Wang is renowned for creating memorable cocooning interiors within fine-dining restaurants in her home city, including Ammo and Mott 32. She has also extended her portfolio internationally, working in the US and Europe on high-end hospitality projects. Her work speaks to wellbeing and clever design. With this in mind, she discusses her views on her process and how she defines luxury.

Q What are elements of the Joyce Wang signature style?
A We don’t have a set style – more of a set approach, maybe. I like to give common materials another chance by placing them in an environment that elevates them. For Ammo we used copper piping from a local store for the light fixtures and it was perceived as a luxurious finish. That made me think that I want an element of that in all of our projects.

Q What does luxury mean to you?
A Comfort and privacy. We first became known for using metals and hard, masculine shapes, but I’m now focusing more on comfort. Society is so obsessed with the shape of things but actually being cocooned by a slouchy couch can be luxurious.

Q How do you stay successful while continuing to have fun?
A I really like the people I work with. That’s the main thing. Even when I talk about work with my team we can still joke around. We’re only doing design at the end of the day, so it helps that we can laugh at ourselves and not take it too seriously.



Car: The X7
Location: Therme Vals Spa

A perfect blend
Luxury, performance and roominess all combine in the BMW X7, resulting in a sports-activity vehicle that’s both sleek and sensual. From its massive panoramic glass sunroof that fills the vehicle with natural light to the sharp lines of its exterior, this design statement does not forgo comfort in its luxurious ambitions.

Grand intentions
From twilight dashes through the urban realm to epic weekend journeys along winding mountain roads, the X7 is built for those who travel in style. With three rows of seats in extended merino leather upholstery, it exudes luxury and spaciousness.

Beyond bold
This is a vehicle with bold intentions and grand designs. With a powerful engine, the largest BMW kidney grille ever and sleek laser headlights, it’s a car with a commanding presence that makes a lasting impression.



Philip Tinari
On steering a creative course.

Through bold leadership Tinari has taken one of Asia’s most respected contemporary-art institutions, China’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), into its most dynamic period. Since joining UCCA as director in 2011 he’s helped grow the organisation into a platform for Chinese contemporary artists to reach a global audience, while bringing world-class international exhibitions to Beijing. He recently led the opening of its second iteration, UCCA Dune.

Q Your latest bold move is opening UCCA Dune Art Museum in a beach location outside of Beijing last year. Has it paid off?
A It was an experiment where we asked the question, “Is there space for a centre for contemporary art outside of a major Chinese city?” The answer is a resounding yes. Even in the dead of winter there are hundreds of visitors each day. Right now we’re taking a “build it and they will come” attitude to contemporary art here. We are at a point where a critical mass is consuming contemporary art in China.

Q And you’ve played a role in creating this mass appeal. How have you managed it?
A I made the move here in the early 2000s and I’ve been fortunate to grow and develop alongside the economy. I independently started various platforms responding to Chinese contemporary art, and from the beginning I’ve always looked at it from an international perspective. I’ve continued to do this through UCCA.



Car: The 7
Location: Festspielhaus Bregenz

Breaking away
BMW knows its ideal customers well: they are bold thinkers with independent spirits who seek a vehicle that exceeds all expectations. BMW’s answer, the 7, is truly eye-catching, emanating a seamless sense of presence on city streets.

Designed to impress
With a beefed-up logo badge and kidney grille, the design of the 7 makes an immediate impact. On closer inspection, subtle touches – such as a chrome-plated trim and integrated exhaust pipes – add an air of grace and elegance to this dynamic aesthetic.

A new world within
An urban limousine of incomparable comfort and inner strength. Features such as ambient lighting and a range of sense-stimulating fragrances complement finely upholstered seating and in-car entertainment that is ramped up to an executive level.



Patrick Grant
On creativity without compromise.

The work of London tailor, entrepreneur and creative visionary Patrick Grant is imbued with energetic and tasteful design built around performance and permanence. We spoke to the man who has reinvigorated ailing Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and E Tautz about his work creating products for a gentlemanly lifestyle and the moments of creativity that have shaped his success.

Q Tell us about a defining moment in your career.
A I spent nine years working in engineering and technology and had never thought about working in a making profession. By complete chance I came across an advert for Norton & Sons. It was everything I love in the world: craftsmanship, history and elegant clothes. This was a beautiful little business that had been extraordinarily successful but suffered through a period of decline. I sold my car, sold my house, raised money and took over the business.

Q What does luxury mean to you?
A It’s about scarcity and exceptionalism. There are genuine luxuries that are not expensive and there are expensive things that have nothing to do with luxury. It boils down to a lack of compromise. We are completely uncompromising in the way that we make our clothes. There are cheaper and faster ways of manufacturing but that’s not the world we wish to live in. We sew by hand, we cut by hand. We have no interest in making the process simpler, only in making it better.



Car: The 8 coupé
Location: Olympic Park

Visionary design
Even when stationary, the expressive lines and low profile silhouette of the 8 coupé dance with daring movement. It’s a sports car that its built for speed: its elongated nose and double-bubble racing driver’s roof form a flowing and luxurious look.

Feel the power
Gear up for a smooth 0 to 62mph in only 3.7 seconds, powered by BMW’s latest TwinPower Turbo eight-cylinder petrol engine. From the purr of the under-the-bonnet power to the crisp audio emitted from high-end Bowers & Wilkins speakers, this is a vehicle that demands attention.

Inner magic
The 8 coupé is a sensational sportscar that fires up feelings of passion in its drivers. With a bold design profile and integrated cutting-edge technological advancements, the 8 coupé delivers a dream ride that is sure to stir up strong emotions.



Daan Roosegaarde
On technology meeting nature.

Daan Roosegarde is a free thinker who combines art, design and technology to create projects that are both beautiful and improve the way we live. His fascination with the elements marks many of his works, including his Smog Free Towers, which suck up polluted air particles and pump out fresh air in smoggy cities such as Beijing. He is currently working with the European Space Agency on an ambitious project that aims to upcycle space waste into controlled meteorite performances in the heavens.

Q When did you realise you were on the right course with your work?
AOne turning point was when we did our Waterlicht exhibition, where we used waves of light to show where the high water level would be if there were no delta works in the Netherlands. That is when we really started using nature as an element in our work, to create social change. In one night, 60,000 people responded to this immersive experience. It was a trigger for us to say to ourselves, “How do we make cities future proof? How do we live with nature?”

Q Why do you want to push your latest Space Waste Lab project beyond our planet?
ABecause space is interesting. It seems very far away, some 220,000km, but the satellites we’re protecting with this project strongly influence the way we communicate every day. So in that way space is both very distant and very intimate. We are connected to space. It’s very personal.



Car: The 8 convertible
Location: Montforthaus

Man meets nature
The 8 convertible’s exterior exudes lightness and luxury. Driving the vehicle encourages drivers to get in touch with nature by putting the top down so they can feel the wind blowing in their hair and hear the engine purring.

Elegant flow
A masterpiece of automotive design, the 8 convertible has a low profile that sinks purposefully onto the road, with handsome 20-inch wheels, a sporty front apron and optional high-powered, low-slung BMW laser headlights.

Quiet comfort
While its exterior is magnificently streamlined, the 8 convertible’s interior promotes quiet comfort and understated luxury. A smart head-warming neck rest, an ambient lighting system, dynamic speakers and handcrafted glass elements all combine to exemplify BMW’s meticulous attention to detail.




BMW knows the importance of making every second of your life count. With this in mind, Monocle called upon its global network of correspondents to compile action-packed itineraries for the base cities of our four brand representatives.

The Netherlands’ second city has been reborn in recent years as one of Europe’s most buzzing creative centres and is brimming with architectural showstoppers and progressive gallery spaces.

08.30 Start your day with a breakfast of buckwheat waffles topped with homemade blueberry jam at café-cum-bike shop Coppi.
11.00 Shop for clothing from emerging Dutch designers, including Josje Bruijn and Dora Kloppenburg, at Hutspot, a vast whitewashed shop showcasing the work of the best local talent.
13.30 Head to Op Het Dak, a rooftop café in the heart of the city serving plates of olive-roasted cod and sweet-potato rösti.
16.00 Explore the city’s creative edge at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, a former school building that now plays host to an impressive roster of international artists.
19.30 Enjoy a plate of thyme-and-bergamot-glazed lamb at Restaurant de Jong, housed under a railway arch in the trendy De Hofbogen district.

A global focal point for media, business and art, the UK capital is a fast-paced metropolis that balances a rich cultural heritage with forward-thinking urbanism.

08.30 Tuck in to the perfect full English breakfast at Riding House Café, a Fitzrovia mainstay housed in a converted 1950s office block.
11.00 Get your retail fix at Another Country in Marylebone, a two-level showroom displaying the best in wooden furniture and modern homeware design.
13.30 Grab a table at The Quality Chop House, a traditional-feeling restaurant in Farringdon dating back to 1869. Try sumptuous chops and marrowbone fritters.
16.00 Visit Whitechapel Gallery, an East End contemporary-art institution that’s been open since 1901.
19.30 Head to Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch for dinner. Its menu changes daily but expect refined versions of UK classics, including pan-roasted brill and chicken-and-tarragon pie.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong might be home to the world’s largest collection of skyscrapers but at ground level you’ll find a bustling cosmopolitan street life that makes it one of Asia’s most colourful and exciting cities.

08.30 Head to Australia Dairy Company for its famous scrambled eggs and steamed-milk pudding. +852 2730 1356
11.00 Pick up some handmade leather designs at Fungus Workshop, an intimate shop nestled in the artsy Po Hing Fong neighbourhood.
13.30 Pull up a chair at For Kee, a family-run restaurant that has been serving some of the tastiest pork chops in the city for decades. +852 2546 8947
16.00 Admire Liang Yi Museum’s vast collection of ornate Chinese antique furniture, housed in a restored 1960s tenement building on Hollywood Road.
19.30 Enjoy Spiga’s opulent Joyce Wang-designed interiors while you dig in to a plate of veal cheek with mustard and potatoes.

The Chinese capital is constantly reimagining itself, making it an endlessly exciting site for exploration. From the historic elegance of the Forbidden City to the busy site of Tian’anmen Square, sprawling Beijing is a fascinating, bustling metropolis of epic proportions.

08.30 Sample some of the best baozi (traditional filled breakfast dumplings) Beijing has to offer at Bāozi Pù in Gulou. 11.00 Pick up pieces from Chinese clothing brands including QZ Shen and Langjin in the stylish Algorithm store in Gongti Bei Lu.
13.30 Grab a table at Transit, famous for their refined Sichuan fare. Try the tender sea bass in hot chilli and peppercorn-infused oil. +86 10 6417 9090
16.00 Head to Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in the 798 Art Zone. This vast space is spread over four exhibition halls and showcases contemporary international and Chinese artists.
19.30 Enjoy a plate of succulent Beijing duck at Duck de Chine. Their signature dish is crisped in ovens using date wood to add flavour.
+86 10 6521 2221



Location glossary

Therme Vals Spa
Submerged in an idyllic Swiss hillside, the thermal baths here are the design of architect Peter Zumthor. The spa uses water piped from the area’s natural mineral springs to fill a complex of tranquil baths that were constructed using slender blocks of local quartz.

Built to host the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the Olympiastadion is Bavaria’s most striking piece of postwar architecture. Some of the world’s greatest sporting events have taken place under its vast canopy, including the final of the 1974 football World Cup.

A breezy multipurpose cultural centre in the Austrian city of Feldkirch, Mortforthaus is the work of German architecture firm Hascher Jehle. It includes a grand wood-panelled hall that hosts everything from concerts and balls to tradeshows and conventions.

Festspielhaus Bregenz
At the eastern tip of Lake Constance lies the Festspielhaus Bregenz, a vast congress centre that opened in the 1980s and has played host to the Bregenzer Festspiele, Austria’s largest and most important performing-arts festival, every summer since.




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