This Mercedes-Benz G-Class Race Car Is Actually An Art Project
Geländewagen project: a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Virgil Abloh
Advancing luxury with innovative design
Stuttgart. On September 8, the Geländewagen project – the first result of a collaboration that is a first of its kind between Mercedes-Benz and the creative director and founder of Off-White and the male artistic director of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh – was unveiled. via a unique digital launch event. The Concept Design Project, led by Gorden Wagener and Mercedes-Benz Design Director Abloh, used the Mercedes-Benz G-Class to explore ways to disrupt future perceptions of luxury. The result is a distinctive manifestation of the G-Class like never seen before. Forced to support the arts at a critical time, a replica of the design piece will be auctioned off as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated, one of the auction house’s most revered series which is defined by prospect unique from a designer with different influential tastes each year, with all proceeds going to a charity that supports international creative communities. Advanced auctions will begin on September 14, 2020.
Click here to watch the reveal and further explore the collaboration.
Virgil Abloh says, “My ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz is to inspire young artists, engineers and designers to challenge the status quo, in addition to experimenting with my own design abilities,” Abloh said. “For me, it’s about providing opportunities for those who come after me and giving this next generation a foundation for success, both here with Mercedes-Benz and through my own scholarship fund. “post-modern” Virgil Abloh ™ studies.
“With Project Geländewagen, we create a unique work of art that presents future interpretations of luxury and the desire for beauty and the extraordinary. The result is something between reality and the future, ”says Gorden Wagener, Mercedes-Benz Design Director. “The collaboration with Virgil has allowed two distinct design philosophies to come together, for a one-of-a-kind re-imagination of G that continues to celebrate the extraordinary at its heart.
“The Geländewagen project perfectly embodies the manifestation of contemporary Mercedes-Benz luxury, pushing creativity and innovative design,” says Bettina Fetzer, vice president of marketing at Mercedes-Benz AG. “Culture and the arts have always played an important role in both Mercedes-Benz products and the brand, and we are proud to donate all proceeds from the replica auction to help international creative communities. to continue their artistic education.
From 4×4 to Landaulet, the G-Class has seen many incarnations to date, but never a racing car – until now. The finished design never forgets its point of origin and captures the experience of a racing car. The design process was inspired by Wagener and Abloh owning and experiencing the G-Class firsthand and identifying opportunities to maximize their Mercedes-AMG attitude. Together, they brainstormed how to make the viewer look at Mercedes-Benz designs with a new perspective, while taking luxury away from a polished, flawless aesthetic for something raw, natural, and everything. quite more honest.
The exterior is kept as clean as possible to emphasize the iconic silhouette of the G-Class, demonstrating its monolithic character. The final design lays bare its construction methods and celebrates the artisanal imperfections that make it unique. The paint has been partially sanded by hand to create an impression of timeless simplicity. Welds are celebrated as key design motifs, as craftsmanship takes center stage. The turn signals, exterior mirrors and bumper bar have all been removed and the car body is widened and lowered, for a sportier effect. The distinct personality of the G remains intact, however, and an exaggeration of the tires and spare wheel gives off the unmistakable charisma of the G.
Within the artwork, reduction reigns and the racing inspiration is clear; avoiding all the clichés of an SUV. All interiors have been stripped down and the security frame becomes a central motif. The dashboard is removed and replaced with a clean, scaled-down version that celebrates an analog speedometer and fuel gauges, reminiscent of a classic car. This contrasts with the steering wheel and seats, which is more akin to a Formula 1 vehicle. Safety features and key racing elements, such as the ROPS or 5-point seat belts, are highlighted. in sky blue and bright red tones. These strong accent colors create a new kind of color grouping and contrast with the bare interior.
Through the Geländewagen project, the worlds of fashion, art and automotive are united by a common passion: exceptional luxury design that anticipates future ambitions. Using the craftsmanship and craftsmanship of Mercedes-Benz’s heritage as the world’s premier automaker, the creation of Wagener and Abloh embodies Mercedes-Benz’s innate understanding of the extraordinary, a bold vision. of the future of luxury design and power. dream.
About Gorden Wagener
Born in Essen, Gorden Wagener is Chief Design Officer of the Daimler Group – a position he has held since 2016. After studying industrial design at the University of Essen, he honed his transport design skills at the Royal College of London Art. He joined Mercedes-Benz more than two decades ago, initially working as an exterior designer at Volkswagen, Mazda and GM. In 2008 he was appointed head of the AG Design unit at Daimler and has been responsible for the design of all cars ever since. Under his leadership, the new sensual purity design philosophy was conceived, which embodies both “hot” and “cool” characteristics and thus expresses an essential aspect of the brand – the dichotomy between emotion and intelligence. Several models bear Wagener’s signature, including the C, E and S Class models, the GLE and GLC SUVs, the Mercedes-AMG GT, and the company’s intelligent and commercial vehicles. His groundbreaking work has earned him many accolades, including an honorary professor position at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (2009) and an honorary doctorate at the Technical University of Sofia (2010).
About Virgil Abloh
Born in Rockford, Illinois, Virgil Abloh is an artist, architect, engineer, creative director and fashion designer. After earning a civil engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he earned a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago. At IIT, while studying a design program devised by Mies van der Rohe, Abloh began to develop the principles of his artistic practice. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presented a major traveling study of Abloh’s work in the summer of 2019 – one of the busiest exhibits in the museum’s history. Currently, Abloh is the chief creative director and founder of Off-White and artistic director of men at Louis Vuitton.