Luigi Colani studied sculpture and painting at the Berlin Kunstakademie. In 1947 he went to Paris, where he studied at the Sorbonne until 1952 and audited lectures on aerodynamics. During that Paris period Luigi Colani also tested new vehicles for car and motorcycle magazines. In 1952-53 Luigi Colani lived in California, where he tested new materials suitable for high speeds for aircraft maker Douglas. Designing and using plastic materials plays a big role in Colani's designs.
From 1954 Luigi Colani developed his distinctive organic language of forms, which he himself calls "bio-design". Colani's forms are derived from nature although this applies more to configuration as such than to their function. Luigi Colani designed cars and racing cars for Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Volkswagen, and BMW as well as all sorts of other articles used in all areas of life. Luigi Colani objects are notable for soft, fluid forms, which also often seem futuristic and "fast", i.e., aerodynamically optimized, be they high-speed vehicles or vases.
In 1972 Luigi Colani established a design factory in Sassenberg near Rheda. From the late 1970s Luigi Colani worked for Japanese firms and lived in Japan from 1982 until 1987, working for companies such as Canon, Sony, and Mazda. In 1987 Luigi Colani opened a research studio in Bern, where he produced visionary studies for hypersonic aircraft, aerodynamic sporting goods, and high-speed trains. In 1989 Luigi Colani presented thirteen streamlined vehicles, with which speed records were achieved on the Utah saltpans.
Near Shanghai Lugi Colani planned a city for scientists, which he called "Bio-City" since it was adapted in form and function to the human body. In 1995 Luigi Colani became a professor at Tong-Ji University in Shanghai. Since 2002 there has been a Colani Research Center in Karlsruhe. In Luigi Colani designed the "Drop" tea service for Rosenthal and, between 1971-1973, he designed "Körperform" (Body Form) glass fiber chairs for Fritz Hansen. In 1986 Colani designed the "T90" digital camera for Canon. In 1992 Vobis made computers in housing designed by Luigi Colani without corners and edges. In 2001 the prolific and versatile designer caused a sensation with the "Colani Truck", a futuristic-looking truck featuring aerodynamic forms.
Luigi Colani is one of the best known designers worldwide, both through having his name displayed on all designs and products as well as his "biodynamic" formal language.