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#25 BMW Group DesignworksUSA

There's no reason your printer should be less elegant than a BMW Z4 Roadster. That's the thinking behind BMW Group DesignworksUSA. "When you look at most cars, you get the feeling that there's one global manufacturer," says president Laurenz Schaffer. "Same thing with many products. Our philosophy is to create something new and different." Partnering with the likes of Starbucks and HP, the design-consulting subsidiary is applying its design excellence and attitude to everything from coffeemakers to Nokia phones.

1) HP Officejet All-in-One 8500

Schaffer's team enlarged "interaction areas," such as the fax feed on the top and printer pickup on the bottom, to make the machine appear more inviting without straying too far from HP's traditional design vocabulary.

2) Saeco Xsmall

Xsmall's intuitive one-button interface means "users don't have to read the manual," Schaffer says. Unlike most coffeemakers, the machine's glossy red-and-white exterior looks good from any angle -- even the back.

3) Whitestar Signature

This surgical platform uses ultrasound to remove cataracts. By loading it with a simple touch screen and stacking its components like a totem pole, DesignworksUSA helped Advanced Medical Optics save time and space in the operating room.

4) Thermaltake Level 10 Gaming Tower

By separating electrical components based on how hot they get during use -- and giving each its own cooling system -- DesignworksUSA created a computer tower that's as efficient as it is eye-catching.

WHEN
FOUNDED

1972
HEADQUARTERS
Newbury Park, CA
CEO
President Laurenz Schaffer
NUMBER OF
EMPLOYEES

135

BMW Group DesignworksUSA

total revenues for most recent fiscal year
$76.5 Billion [2008, BMW Group]

what the company is most famous for
Its breadth of non-automotive products.

why it's innovative
For applying BMW's winning design aesthetic to everything from coffeemakers to Nokia phones.

web
http://www.designworksusa.com

fast company
Masters of Design: Adrian Van Hooydonk