Car Designer Profile: Oliver Sieghart, Head of Interior Design at MINI
Oliver Sieghart has been Head of Interior Design at MINI since 2008. His area of responsibility embraces all the interior equipment and fittings for current and future MINI models – from the seats and steering wheel all the way to the cockpit and doors.
Oliver knew early on what he wanted to be. Indeed, his dream career beckoned a short distance from his home in Munich’s north: he grew up just five kilometres from the BMW Design Studio. After studying product design, he completed a diploma at BMW in 1997 and was promptly offered a job. Already in his first year as a BMW designer, he won the company’s in-house interior design competition for the BMW Z4 and subsequently saw the model through to successful production. A mere four years later, Sieghart was appointed Senior Designer and was responsible, among other things, for various BMW series car projects as well as concept cars. This led to his promotion, in 2006, to Team Leader. Two years on, he moved to MINI as Head of Interior Design. For him the particular appeal of this post lies in the challenge of redefining the interior design of such a prominent brand without compromising the familiar MINI character. Among the models to emerge under his direction were the MINI Roadster, MINI Paceman, MINI Coupé and MINI Countryman.
Oliver Sieghart alongside Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.
For Oliver, cars are ‘companions’ – emotion-laden functional objects. The interior design should allow for intuitive operation while also taking the driver by surprise, not least with an engaging playfulness. But it is important to Oliver that every detail should reflect the uniqueness of the brand and at the same time meet the functional brief. The Munich native says he has no time for design gimmicks that are mere distractions and don’t serve a useful purpose. Instead, Oliver seeks a combination of pragmatism and emotion.
MINI Vision interior featuring a transparent and open cockpit, sweeping doors and a “floating” centre console.
Oliver asserts his passion for design is rooted in his DNA. Inspiring discussions about art with his culturally active parents, along with the furnishings in their house that consisted mainly of design classics, nurtured his passion for aesthetics. As for living within his own four walls, he prefers the plain approach: purist furniture, industrial parquet flooring and light-coloured walls. The reason for this is as pragmatic as the décor itself: Oliver Sieghart has two sons and he wants to provide them with freedom of space – to romp around, mess about and build things. The MINI designer finds inspiration wherever he looks. He goes through life with his eyes wide open, whether at exhibitions, trade fairs, on holiday, during stimulating exchanges or when browsing magazines or the internet. To free up his mind for completely fresh thoughts, he spends the weekends with his family or takes mountain bike tours from Lake Tegernsee into the Dolomites. Oliver Sieghart is married and lives in Munich with his wife and two children.