Munich: BMW Welt & Museum

If you plan on visiting Munich and you enjoy design or cars in the least bit, simply take the U Bahn to the Olympic Center and you will not regret it. I was a bit confused about the difference between the Welt and the Museum- I thought it was just interchangeable words. But let me clarify that the Welt is an actual car showroom (free), while the Museum is a historical display of BMWs (at a small cost). I wish I had the foresight to make a reservation for an English tour (via the Welt- I believe it does cost something) to see the factory- next time!

I realize now that I was mistaken in thinking the Welt was designed by Zaha Hadid. Although I am now disappointed that I have been thwarted in visiting one of her buildings, I’m happy to say that I’m also glad to learn it wasn’t her design.

The Welt’s most impressive quality is the way that it takes the typical car showroom and pumps it up on serious steriods. For those who are picking up their new, shiny BMWs, I cannot imagine a better stage in which to “show off” your new symbol of wealth.

I was nonplussed with the exterior of the building- it just seemed like yet another contemporary design whereby computer aided programs were left to their own devices.

The BMW Museum housed a seriously great collection of their cars and motorcycles. The larger image above shows off my favorite room in the place- using the lamps as a way to set the context for the cars was a true success in exhibit design.

The museum is divided into 2 (odd) sections and I almost missed one of the sections (in the spiral tower) entirely. Mostly likely because I didn’t take a map, I was left with the feeling that because of the overall layout that I was going to miss something.

Another room I really enjoyed, which I don’t have a photo of, was a small spot where they displayed BMW advertisements. In 7-8 minute rotations, they would show either printed ads or video ads whereby the printed ads would slide up to reveal TV screens for the video ads. It was a clever way to consolidate the information; I discovered the additional “layer” by surprise- I would also have appreciated a sign to indicate as such.

Between the Welt and the Museum, there was definitely an general theme of layers/ balconies/ elevated walkways in the space. Executed in two totally difference styles, I always enjoy the ability to see across or into other spaces and in these cases, it emphasized that brand driven BMW ultimate experience of “being seen”.

Overall, I am quite happy I made the trip to the BMW Experience. It was on my Wish List and I was not disappointed. Now, if only I had time for that test drive…

Website: BMW Visitor Website

Address: Am Olympiapark 2, 80809 München, Germany