color-changing BMW i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA glimmers with Esther Mahlangu’s Ndebele artwork


bmw’s high-tech tribute to esther mahlangu


Throughout this yr’s Frieze Los Angeles artwork truthful, the BMW Group has unveiled its newest work, a fusion of artwork and expertise developed with the creative language of South African artist Esther Mahlangu. The automobile is known as the BMW i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA, and it’s actually one-of-a-kind. As a designer piece, it showcases the corporate’s color-change expertise as it’s wrapped with sections of electronically-animated movie developed in cooperation with E Ink. Shimmering, color-shifting patterns dance throughout the physique and wheels of the automotive in a up to date tribute to the BMW Artwork Automobile designed by Mahlangu in 1991. That twelfth BMW Artwork Automobile, based mostly on a BMW 525i, was a milestone second in itself because it marked the primary to be designed by each a lady and an African artist. See extra of the artist’s course of via designboom’s 2018 journey with BMW to South Africa right here.


Her artwork impressed me years in the past, again when the idea of coloration change on a automotive was simply an thought in my head,’ says Stella Clarke, Analysis Engineer Open Improvements on the BMW Group.Now, having the ability to understand this concept, and work with Esther Mahlangu, is completely surreal.

pictures © BMW Group



e ink: the colour altering movie


The BMW i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA — named after Mahlangu’s first son — is one other milestone over thirty years later. The 88-year-old artist’s acquainted colours and geometries are given a brand new life, making the fully-electric sedan a dynamic paintings mixing the outdated and new. The impact is achieved with electronically-animated movie utilized in strips — two throughout the roof, the hood and rear, and the edges. The staff at BMW compares this movie to an e-book reader with a number of million microcapsules in every E Ink movie. These comprise coloration particles whose construction and association will be modified by making use of an electrical voltage. In complete, the automotive is exactly fitted with 1,349 laser-cut sections of movie, every of which will be individually managed to precisely render the intricate complexities of the paintings. This manner, the colours and patterns of Mahlangu’s paintings can’t solely be generated alongside the automotive’s surfaces, however can always shift in composition.

It’s fascinating to me to see how trendy expertise can develop my artwork and make it accessible to a totally new viewers,’ says Esther Mahlangu.

bmw mostokana esther mahlangu
BMW unveils i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA, an paintings fusing expertise and the work of Esther Mahlangu



bmw i5 movement nostokana: an experiential paintings


Greater than only a visible paintings, the BMW i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA is accompanied by a soundscape composed by Renzo Vitale,  BMW Group’s Artistic Director, Sound. This soundscape is created with influences from the South African Ndebele tradition, and incorporates sequences from Mahlangu’s voice, in addition to the sound of the feather brushes she used for portray. These samples are mixed along with sounds of coloration pencils used within the BMW design studio in addition to the acoustic sign heard as suggestions when working the BMW i5’s contact show. The soundscape thus continues the dialogue between South African heritage and up to date expertise.

bmw mostokana esther mahlangu
the automotive makes use of color-changing expertise with tens of millions of microcapsules to show Mahlangu’s paintings and patterns



The staff at BMW notes that fast growth of its color-changing expertise. It was solely in 2022 that the BMW iX Circulation that includes E Ink was offered. At the moment is had the flexibility to change between white and black with the push of a button. One yr later, coloration was added as 240 movie sections had been in a position to show thirty-two colours throughout the BMW i Imaginative and prescient Dee. With the newly unveiled BMW i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA, the 1,349 movie sections are extra sturdy, and permit for extra complexity and much more colours nonetheless. Whereas the improved sturdiness will facilitate simpler potential collection manufacturing, for now the Esther Mahrandu-inspired automobile will stay one-of-a-kind.

Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, feedback: The BMW i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA honors the historical past of the BMW model and continues the story of our world cultural engagement in a novel manner. It combines artwork and design via progressive expertise. Right here, expertise itself turns into artwork.

bmw mostokana esther mahlangu
every laser-cut movie part will be individually managed, permitting for intricate and dynamic coloration showscolor-changing BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA glimmers with Esther Mahlangu's Ndebele art
the i5 Circulation NOSTOKANA providing extra colours and complexity than earlier E Ink iterations

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