Newbury Park, California, USA
“What we wanted to achieve is a gaming rig design that takes both technology and aesthetics in this field to the next level,” said Global President of BMW Designworks Holger Hampf.
“Our goal was to create the most comfortable seating, hand posture and head movement situation, that allow the gamer to fully immerse herself or himself and experience a sense of weightlessness. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a designer to work on a project like this as we were able to play to extremes in terms of technology.”
Created by BMW Designworks along with BMW engineers, the new gaming chair, “the Rival Rig,” is an inspiring outcome in the fusion of the physical and the virtual world.
In the design process, BMW’s goal was to create a visually stunning object that elevates both functionality and comfort as well as an experience that allows the gamer to immerse in the game, become one with their virtual context and be completely uninhibited by physical limitations.
To realize this, they designed a rig capable of reading the user through constant analysis of movement.
This means the gamer no longer has to adjust anything themselves.
Now, if the temperature rises, the rig provides cool air.
If there is too much pressure on the arms, the chair will lower the armrests to eliminate pressure points.
The aim is a sense of weightlessness that enables full immersion for the gamer.
The design of The Rival Rig ultimately provided a rare opportunity to play to extremes in terms of technology and human capabilities.
For example, the designers searched for inspiration in arenas where humans have to make decisions in split seconds, such as in spaceships and Formula One cars — two situations that require an understanding of complex systems and fast reaction times at very high speeds.
They applied their learnings from these fields in a new context, all down to a microscopic level.
This project really was about millimeters rather than centimeters.
While The Rival Rig is geared toward the player, it was also designed with the audience in mind.
Esports is a dynamically growing field with an immense public audience, both online and via live staged events.
BMW wanted to make sure the rig increased the bond between gaming athletes and spectators worldwide.
To do this, they explored special lighting features that allow fans and followers to become part of the action taking place inside the game.
For example, the rig is designed to mirror what’s happening virtually, through LED lighting effects capable of utilizing the entire light spectrum to emulate calming moods to brightly lit activity scenes.
From BMW’s point of view, The Rival Rig is just the beginning of immersion through the power of design.
Project: BMW The Rival Rig
Architects: BMW Group Designworks USA