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The multilateral design thinker: Martina Starke.

Interview with Martina Starke, Studio Director of Designworks Munich.

BMW Group Design

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Munich – December, 2019. Martina Starke is the Studio Director of Designworks Munich where she is leading the team with strategic thinking and with a holistic design approach. While new design solutions have always been at the center of Martina's work, years of close collaboration with a variety of specialist departments at the BMW Group has been a defining factor in her vision of innovation. With her main focus on human centered design, Martina Starke enjoys encouraging interaction. Working across industries and with various disciplines and mindsets in her team is therefore one of the most important aspects for her. Martina’s versatile team at Designworks’ Munich studio currently consists of 40 creatives and has a strong link to the BMW Group’s design departments.  


Martina Starke has held numerous design positions within the BMW group over the last 19 years. With broad experience across both exterior and interior design, as well as material, color and detail, she assumed responsibility for BMW Brand Vision and BMW Brand Design before joining Designworks in July 2019.


What is the future of mobility and what is Designworks' role in it?

Starke: We are no longer talking mainly about cars because mobility has become an entire ecosystem that needs to be designed. While working on aspects like getting seamlessly from A to B, we look beyond the automobile. At Designworks, we benefit from an outside-in view, a perspective that allows us to question the obvious with all the design knowledge and bold creativity of our multidisciplinary teams. We think in both the physical and digital world and understand the essence of human interaction.


With DW studios across the globe, what is the specific focus of the DW studio in Munich you represent?

Starke: In addition to a world-class design team with people from different disciplines and backgrounds, the Munich studio has a creative consultancy unit that works closely with clients to develop an in depth understanding of highly complex projects. This collaborative approach, together with a highly analytical design process guarantees far-sighted solutions and business-relevant products. 


Where do you see DW in the future and what sort of things are you keen to encourage as director of the studio?

Starke: We at Designworks see ourselves as architects of future who combine a comprehensive process view with an in-depth understanding of the future context. Strong visions need compelling storytelling and we’re convinced that technology experiences of the future have to be emotional and above all human. We will continue to work across disciplines and industries to create truly innovative products and strategies for and with our customers.


What is your design ethos? What sources of inspiration for the field of design should we use more in the future?

Starke: One thing I’m telling everyone is: Stay curious. And be brave. That means we have to leave our comfort zone for some unexpected encounters. We can learn so much from other disciplines and project different ways of thinking back to our design field. I’ve worked with leading scientists for example and sharing both specific knowledge as well as enthusiasm for what you are doing always resulted in completely new directions.


What makes Designworks unique?

Starke: Design, strategy and automotive thinking are interwoven in a way that allows us to deliver seamlessly designed services. Above all, it’s the attitude that makes the difference. For us, co-creation in the team is not only a necessity but a potential each and every team member values and nurtures, as much as our clients.

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