BMW designed by an Aussie

Calvin Luk and BMW

Calvin Luk.

Remember that name if you’re into design.

Luk is the very Aussie designer of BMW’s latest small car, a remarkable story that began in the Sydney suburbs a little over a decade ago.

That’s when the sketch-mad, car-crazy teen decided to mail off some of his suggested visual improvements to the Munich car maker’s catalogue. Posted them straight to the man whose job it was to make them look good!

Daring to dream and backed with a fair dose of chutzpah, young Calvin also told the head of BMW Design, the American Chris Bangle, that he wanted a career designing BMWs.

The rest, as they say, is history…

At the 2015 Geneva Motor Show the dream came true. Calvin Luk posed with his first big BMW design project — the midlife facelift to the BMW 1 Series which has just gone on sale in Australia. What happened in between is an inspiration.

To Calvin’s surprise the BMW design boss liked what he saw of the school kid’s design sketches way back when, and told him to enroll in the famous Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena — a kind of Harvard for car designers.

So, not yet 20, that’s what Calvin did. After graduating and doing internships at Chrysler then BMW, he was hired to the Advanced Design Team in Munich and later to the prestige Exterior Design Studio.

“It’s all I wanted to do — ever!” says Calvin, who was charged with the exterior design update on BMW’s hot hatch contender. Not bad for a schoolboy from Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s north-western suburbs.

And the inside word is that 29-year-old Calvin’s got more BMWs in the pipeline and is earmarked as a star in the making.