Home / Social media / News / The latest BMW Art Car is here - the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA - and it can change colours!


In a groundbreaking fusion of artistry and technology, the BMW Group recently unveiled the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA at the prestigious Frieze Los Angeles art fair. The car is the result of a collaboration between BMW and South African artist Esther Mahlangu, who marries cutting-edge colour-change technology with Mahlangu's iconic artistic language, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA pays homage to Mahlangu's groundbreaking BMW Art Car design from back in 1991 while pushing the boundaries of automotive innovation and using the latest technology. Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, describes the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA as a symbol of the brand's rich heritage and ongoing commitment to global cultural engagement. "It combines art and design through progressive technology. Here, technology itself becomes art," he remarks, underscoring the vehicle's significance as both a masterpiece and a marvel of engineering. Esther Mahlangu's journey with BMW began in 1991 when she became the first African artist to design a BMW Art Car, immortalizing her signature colours and geometric patterns on a BMW 525i. Now, over three decades later, her collaboration with BMW has reached new heights with the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA. Stella Clarke, Research Engineer Open Innovations at the BMW Group, reflects on Mahlangu's enduring influence, stating, "Her art inspired me years ago, back when the concept of colour change on a car was just an idea in my head. Now, being able to realize this idea and work with Esther Mahlangu is absolutely surreal." The BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA epitomizes the convergence of art and technology, with electronically animated sections of film adorning its surface. These films, developed in partnership with E Ink, contain millions of microcapsules capable of changing colour and pattern with the application of an electric voltage. Mahlangu's distinctive designs come to life in dynamic compositions across the vehicle's roof, hood, rear section, and sides, creating a mesmerizing display of art in motion.

Renzo Vitale, the BMW Group's Creative Director, Sound, adds another layer of sensory experience to the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA with an extraordinary sound composition. Drawing inspiration from Mahlangu's Ndebele culture, Vitale integrates elements of Mahlangu's voice and the sounds of her painting tools into a captivating soundscape that accompanies the vehicle's animations. The result is a multisensory journey that immerses viewers in the intersection of art and automotive innovation. To achieve the intricate ornamentation of Mahlangu's designs, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA features 1,349 individually controlled sections of film, meticulously crafted to replicate every detail. The development of the technology, including its adaptation for curved surfaces and programmed animations, represents a collaborative effort between BMW Group and E Ink. While the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA stands as a unique masterpiece, it also reflects the rapid evolution of colour-change technology within the automotive industry. Beyond its technological marvel, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA pays tribute to Esther Mahlangu's groundbreaking contributions to art and culture. Known for her Ndebele paintings, Mahlangu has redefined traditional motifs, preserving them for future generations through her innovative approach. The BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA reinterprets Mahlangu's artistic language, bridging the gap between tradition and innovation. In conjunction with the unveiling of the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, BMW continues its longstanding partnership with Frieze Los Angeles, showcasing its commitment to the arts. Additionally, Mahlangu's original BMW Art Car will be displayed in South Africa for the first time in over 30 years as part of the exhibition hosted by the Iziko Museums of South Africa and the BMW Group in Cape Town. Titled "Then I Knew I Was Good at Painting": Esther Mahlangu. A Retrospective," the exhibition honours Mahlangu's legacy and cultural impact.

Take a look at the YouTube video all about the latest BMW Art Car to be released that joins all the iconic ones of the past. This one features the new BMW i5 Flow and it's once again been adorned with all the coolest African-inspired designs and shapes made famous by Esther Mahlangu, but this time it features future technologies and so it has the ability to change colour: Color Changing BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA Art Car | DPCcars

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