Colani studied sculpture and painting at the Academy of Arts, Berlin and aerodynamics at the Sorbonne. He completed his training in California before returning to Europe. He designed for a wide range of companies including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, VW, BMW, Cor, Villeroy & Boch, Grohe, Rosenthal, Canon, Sony and many others. He was appointed professor at Tong-Ji University in 1995. While he was attacked by many of his contemporaries in Germany, especially the proponents of 'Gute Form', his aesthetic vision influenced many designers of his and the following generation.