BMW's forthcoming X1 marks a major milestone in the career of Sydney-born Calvin Luk.
The small SUV is the 29-year-old's first all-new design to go into production. Luk, who has worked in BMW's Munich studios for the past seven years, designed the X1's attractive exterior.
Although Luk has updated the look of existing cars — he did the recent facelift of the BMW 1 Series, for example — the X1 was his first production project that began with a blank sheet of paper.
"It's a dream come true," says Luk, whose obsession with car design was triggered by the BMW 3 Series his parents owned in the '90s. And it was the reply to a letter he sent at 16 to BMW, asking how to become a designer, that pointed the way for him to enter the profession.
Luk began at University of Technology Sydney, then attended the legendary Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, to complete his design studies.
Luk's X1 exterior beat proposals from older, more experienced designers in a tough internal competition. "In this case there were probably 20 to 30 sketch proposals," he says. About six designers made it to the following computer model stage, Luk recalls.
There is a certain sort of a stress to that
"Then four clay models after that, as the selection narrowed again." Only two of these were selected for presentation to BMW board members and chiefs of design, and they chose Luk's.
"There is a certain sort of a stress to that, but I think it's a healthy stress and I enjoy it," says the designer. It's the kind of "stress which motivates you to do better", he adds, comparing it to preparing to sit the HSC.
The new X1 is "very close to the original sketches," Luk says. His favourite view of the car? "I am most proud of the front, definitely."
There are more BMWs to come with the Luk look. He's currently working on two more new designs that are also headed for production. But he's not allowed to talk about them... yet.