If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kinetic Sculpture BMW Museum

Kinetic Sculpture BMW Museum

The BMW Museum, Story of a Success

The BMW Museum is one of the most popular company museums in Germany. And of all the companies’ sights in Munich, only the Deutsches Museum and the Neue Pinakothek (New Gallery) attract more visitors.

Each year some 250,000 people from all over the world come to the BMW Museum – a story of success for which there are good reasons, because the BMW Museum does not just present the history of BMW and the engines, motorcycles and automobiles manufactured by the company in the course of its first 75 years.

The Architecture of the Primary BMW Museum

The BMW Museum was built at the same time as the Olympic Stadium with its famous tent roof and the BMW Building. Construction started in 1971 and the Museum was opened in 1973. 

It was conceived and planned by the same architect, who designed the BMW Building: Professor Dr. Karl Schwanzer from Vienna gave these two buildings a very different shape, but nevertheless created a unique blend of architecture.

The museum is designed as a “self-supporting body”: the reinforced concrete shell supports the roof. The spiral path inside the Museum rest entirely on the columns also supporting the four platforms which constantly increase in size the further up you go. 

The shell expands in size from a diameter of less than 20 meters (66 ft) to 41 meters (134.5 ft) at the top. In all – it is 19 meters (62 ft) high. Flying over the area in an aircraft you will see a huge BMW logo on the roof of the Museum.
Rather, the BMW Museum achieves an entirely different goal.

It enables its visitors to marvel at the horizons of transport technology through the eyes of five generations, from the early days at the beginning of 20th century into the new millennium. 

Horizons which show the development of ideas, dreams, philosophies, work, society and the individual mobility made possible by technology.
In this way the BMW Museum possibly makes it a bit easier to understand the present as the future of our past and as the past of our future.

New BMW Museum

The new concept behind the BMW Museum focuses on the importance of the BMW Museum as a brand museum and on the fascination exerted by the BMW brand and its products.

The intention is for the history spanning more than 90 years to highlight thematic areas and extend beyond chronological presentations.

Developments from the past are traced up to the present and future themes relevant for BMW are highlighted.

The museum brings the BMW heritage to life in an experience encompassing all the senses and invoking the spirit of the innovative, dynamic character of the BMW brand.

The museum architecture, and exhibition and media design form an ideal setting to present the rich tapestry of themes in a very special way.

The BMW Museum takes new approaches by integrating contemporary architecture with the historic buildings in the same way as the brand is always setting new and innovative benchmarks for engineering and design.


The BMW Museum in Munich embodies a new approach to combining architecture and exhibition design, placing special emphasis on new media. BMW commissioned ART+COM with the museum’s spatial media design and interactive installations and Stuttgart’s Atelier Brückner with the architecture and exhibition design. The joint concept was determined by two underlying themes: mobility and dynamism.

ART+COM’s media concept is based on interactive, reactive and cinematic elements.
Spatial choreographies of projections, light and sound create a dynamic backdrop for the seven “exhibition houses” and 25 rooms, appearing to animate the architecture and 125 exhibits. Interactive installations and so-called “auxiliary” formats help convey the museum’s content by providing in-depth information.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Mediatecture, a 700 m² media façade surrounding the central BMW Square. Another is the Kinetic Sculpture. This mechatronic installation is a spatial representation of the form-finding process in art and design.

The holistic museum experience is supported by a unique sound concept based on an acousmonium, composed by Swiss audio designers idee und klang.


Overall concept for the BMW Museum (with Atelier Brückner and the BMW project team), conception and development of the spatial media design and the interactive installations, media design, application programming, interface design and construction, audio planning, media technology planning, supervision of realisation of media technology, site management of media technology subsections, project management.

Special features
The BMW Museum is a joint project of ART+COM (spatial media design, interactive installations) and Atelier Brückner (architecture, exhibition design). Audio design: idee und klang; graphic design and visual identity: Intégral Ruedi Baur; LED-technology: G-LEC Europe GmbH; media technology: ict Technologies AG; technology of the Kinetic Sculpture: MKT AG


The Kinetic Sculpture is a metaphorical translation of the process of form-finding in art and design. 
714 metal spheres, hanging from thin steel wires attached to individually-controlled stepper motors and covering the area of six square meters, animate a seven minute long mechatronic narrative.
In the beginning, moving chaotically, then evolving to several competing forms that eventually resolve to the finished object, the Kinetic Sculpture creates an artistic visualization of the process of form-finding in different variations.

*Photos by qmdesign ©2008 qmdesign
*Vahid Kiumarsi, Maryam Nouri
* artcom.de/kinetik
* art+com



  1. Outstanding post! The architecture of the BMW musuems is striking to me and the concept of kinetic sculpture is new to me but fascinating! The videos added to the understanding and enjoyment. Thanks you for the education and excellent presentation of some unique material.

  2. It is always a eureka moment
    when we find new forms
    of art -
    kinetic sculpture is
    like, bringing something
    new to the table :-)
    How truly creative and
    fabulous this BMW endeavor-
    hundreds of metallic,
    silver balls suspended in air
    and dancing around to
    create classic and contemporary
    BMW car shapes from
    throughout the company's 90-year -
    absolutely stunning!

    Thank you very much, M... :-)