So many fun things to share with you from the last few days, but so sleepy this 1am and currently in the Côte d’Azur… so, silly things first. While visiting the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen, i couldn’t help but admire their Gran Turismo 5 + PS3 + Logitech circle of racing fun set up in the lobby. The design details of the racing pod are great ~ but even better is the Nürburgring mat it sits on, complete with each twist and turn labeled. The PS3 mount even resembles an engine! See all of the details on the next page!
Entries tagged with: Mercedes-Benz
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There’s something about the way Hard Graft always manages to craft their accessories that brings an air of elegance and rugged simplicity in balance. Their latest Driftwood and Campfire lines take travel to the next level with the Square1 Holdall, Dopp Kit, and Personal Pouch. Personally, i can’t take my eyes off the extremely versatile looking Square1 Holdall in Driftwood ~ though it does see a tad big for a girl my sized, the functionality of the shape as an overnight/weekender seems perfect. Crafted in Italy and made of premium suede and leather it transforms before your eyes from flat squarish holdall, to totebag, to backpack, to handheld and more… take a peek at all the details on the next page!
Currently in Frankfurt for the IAA with Mercedes-Benz, i’ll be hosting a live interview with Christoph Horn, Director of Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars and Anders Sundt Jensen, Director of Brand Communication Mercedes-Benz Cars, about the new products and features at the IAA tomorrow that you can view live on their Facebook page just after the streamed press conference! Please tweet questions you want me to ask with the hashtag #mbLiveTalk, and i’ll try to get answers for you!
As for sneak peeks, tonight was the pre-press conference event with sneak peaks all around… including getting to run around the 3 story “booth” of a space that has housed everything from rock concerts to tennis matches and for the last decade or so ~ Mercedes-Benz at IAA! One of the most noteworthy details beyond the breath taking facade they’ve constructed with in? The history of Mercedes through model cars (and a stuffed MOOSE) that you encounter between the escalators as you head from the ground floor to the 3rd. Take a peek at a video on the next page, as well as more pictures of the space!
Here’s a first from Shawn, our automotive editor, who has been exploring the world of Concours D’Elegance this weekend with me ~ i was mesmerized by these beautiful classic Mercedes-Benz White Knights!
With Mercedes Benz celebrating their 125th anniversary, they commanded the stage and 18th hole on Sunday at the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach. Lining the coast, the “White Knights” stood side by side collectively paying tribute to the Pre-War German engineering and racing of Benz and Daimler. While they are all immaculate, the 1909 Blitzen-Benz is with out a doubt the grand-daddy. The 21.5 Liter four-cylinder laid down 200hp and set the world land speed record of 141mph on April 23, 1911 at Daytona Beach. It is exactly these milestones of the “White knights” that brought Mercedes their glory on and off the track. These legendary cars will remain some of the finest German engineering through time. Take a look at some of their stunning details on the next page.
One of the most fascinating spectacles yesterday was watching how they unload and maneuver/roll precious, concept cars into the putting green in front of the Lodge at Pebble Beach. Especially fun to watch? The unload of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Roadster Concept… a hydrogen electric fuel-cell powered, joystick controlled, bicycle wheeled buggy. While the press pics have been floating for 2+ years, there was something intriguing about seeing it being semi-driven/rolled around and seeing the responses on people (especially kids) faces as they watched in wonder, perhaps even imagining a reality where that could be what we drive. The wood panels on grass technique was fun to watch, take a peek at the process and details on the next page.
They are good with the design details, aren’t they? As usual, couldn’t resist sharing the moleskine like notebook from Mercedes-Benz waiting in my room at the Shangri-La… the details, the texture in particular, the quote and graphics… it has this oceany/fingerprint like pattern/texture to it… it just pulls you in to touch it.
OH - and if i got quiet for more than the weekend (or you don’t hear from me by Monday or Tuesday) ~ come find me! First thing in the morning, i’m hopping on Mike Horn’s Pangaea massive sail boat ~ joining his world wide expedition for around 36 hours (or less?) ~ as we hop up to San Francisco from LA… but for now… more notebook details on the next page, and adventure pics to come!
I might have some C63 lusting happening since spending the week with that Louboutin Mars Red 2011 Mercedes-AMG C63… and when i was going to show you pics of that one, i ended up getting sucked in to the design of the new 2012 model on the way… particularly the Coupe. Something about panoramic sunroofs fascinates me… imagine all the fun and unexpected photo angles you could have through that! Design wise, liking the simplified grill design and body updates, as well as the interior dashboard design that’s evolving nicely. From a tech perspective, this latest model finally gets the driver assistance systems from the S/CLS lines too - adaptive high beam assist, attention assist, parktronic, lane and blind spot assists ~ and even incorporates 3D virtual city views and eco routes built in to the nav. As far as driving tech… first with a new telematics generation, and with the development package you can get it up to 481 HP @ 6,500 RPM… fun, right? Anyhow, while diving into all the details and pictures ~ Mercedes was nice enough to send over some design sketches so we can see where the car evolved from! Take a peek at all the details on the next page!
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Ok, so i just spent a week with a 2011 MercedesAMG C63 in my garage (yes, the BRIGHT mars red one)… and i forgot how much i LOVE driving. Sadly just had Mercedes come pick it up a few minutes ago… So, that combined with being asked to share some of my travel dreams for these Amex Membership Rewards posts… i had to show you the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy Winter Sporting classes… in Arjeplog, just 80km from the Arctic circle! The pictures are just stunning ~ definitely dreaming about doing these some day ~ though i can’t decide how i’d ever pick between driving and photographing! See it all on the next page!
The color of the day has inadvertently become: RED! This morning Mercedes dropped off a Mars Red 2011 Mercedes-Benz C63 for me to play with ~ and i happened to need to take a little drive down to South Coast Plaza to go see some Louboutins… (which, as you can see, i clearly gave in to). And as i excitedly unboxed them in the car, i realized the signature Louboutin red sole matches Mercedes Mars Red far too well. And… i could not resist, but had to shoot the unboxing IN and ON the car! (I’m liking this unboxing on cars thing… remember the Bentley/Toy shoot?) So if you’re ready for some red… take a peek at the unboxing of the Louboutin Elisa 100 Metal Patent in Rouge and the Mars Red C63 on the next page!
There is a trend of impressive projection advertising going on in Germany ~ through both Mercedes-Benz and BMW. I love that both are not simply about being larger than life, but about eco-friendliness (in the case of BMW, the projections are mainly powered by wind energy) and environmentally aware (the Mercedes one helps you SEE through walls, at bikers, skateboards, and unexpected things coming around the corner) ~ both make fascinating and beautiful uses of the spaces around them. AND! Of course, videos of each on the next page to see them in action!
Mmmmm. Another late late night (4:30 already?), but bubbling with inspiration and giddiness, i had to share these pictures with you before sleeping. Spent about 6 or so hours cruising around with the Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG today… from Rancho Santa Fe wandering east into the mountains to Julian (mmm pie) and down and around through more rolling hills right up to the border of Mexico before looping into downtown San Diego for lunch at the Andaz, a quick jaunt through Coronado… and then i couldn’t resist and raced over to my absolute favorite car/beach spot from my college days (you used to find me there listening to music and curled up reading in my car), where you can pull right up to the sand and nearly touch the sea… the ideal sunset spot to make everything in your mind seem irrelevant in an instant.
So. PERFECT sunset. PERFECT beach spot. And PERFECT car. Driving the CLS 63 AMG is absolute bliss. The growling purr of the engine can’t help but make you grin… and it seems to have solved my dilemma where cars have been one of my hardest design objects to shoot passionately. Apparently i just hadn’t found the right one to inspire me. But after an incredibly fun day of driving and exploring rural east county goodness and reminiscing about my san diego past, pulling up to the sunset at my favorite car/beach zen spot… and catching sunset by mere moments… the glow was utterly magical to say the least. And the way the sunset lit and reflected off the cars curves was mind blowing. Naturally, i couldn’t help taking a bunch of pictures… take a peek on the next page!
After a lovely dinner and some macallan, most wandered off to sleep before tomorrow’s adventures begin… i couldn’t help having a little midnight photoshoot alone on the croquet lawn with the CLS 63 AMG… the cut away of the engine block is so beautifully lit in the night. Isn’t it gorgeous inside and out? Anyhow, 1am, and i really ought to sleep, but figured i’d leave you with some lustworthy pics… explore the next page, and i’ll keep you posted on pie tomorrow (we’re wandering out to the delicious Julian!)
Sometimes a gorgeous graphic in print form is all you need to get all inspired and giddy. Well, apparently that does it for me anyhow! Also, there’s nothing like a desk calendar to remind you just how fast 2011 is going to fly right by! As you already saw, i’m hiding out in Rancho Santa Fe with the Mercedes AMG crew this weekend and while the official fun has yet to start, i couldn’t help going through the teaser of a press kit and this calendar while on a call… and the graphics! and paper! and binding! So pretty and thoughtfully designed… and also making me even more certain that an electric sports car has to be on my life list? Or pre-30 list? Definitely pre-40 list. That SLS E-Cell is pretty lustworthy… and i’m not even usually into yellow. Anyhow, the graphics, photos, and even calendar layout itself, is so fun, you must check out the detail shots on the next page!
Today has been kind of amazing in socal, 70 degrees and sunny in LA, and the perfect day to cruise down to San Diego to meet up with Mercedes-Benz AMG… came down a few hours early wanting to skip rush hour and get some work done… but it’s hard not to relax when you pull into the world of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe. So between conference calls and emails, how could i not share this HOUSE of a “room” i just checked into? So very california bungalow; comfy, cozy, and far too much space to have to myself! And truly, the perfect weather for what looks like it will shape up to be a glorious weekend to drive around with the new CLS 63 AMG. Take a peek inside my bungalow on the next page…
The process and creative imagery that is produced along the path to great products are often quite a work of art… It’s so inspiring to see Mercedes-Benz embracing the process by formalizing sculptures in their process of exploration and discovery. There’s something almost magical when seeing the design process itself shared through these sculptural experiments, especially when they share the sketches and organic inspiration that leads them there. Works of art being displayed along side concept cars and current cars fill you with curiosity and open ended inspiration of what the future may hold. Mercedes Aesthetics No. 2 just debuted at Detroit Auto Show.
I love this quote from Mercedes Head of Design, Gorden Wagener, “Inspiration is the pre-condition for the calm, coherent yet passionately emotional design of our cars. In the interior sculpture Aesthetics No. 2 we have allowed creative fantasy to develop freely without constraints.” Regarding sculpture details, “On a scale of 1.5 to 1 the sculpture measures 18.3 x 6 x 8.5 feet. The finely wrought frame painted in alubeam Liquid Metal is light and strong; the white seating landscapes look like ivory.” Take a look at the inspiration behind and the design process that went into it… as well as the very cool final sculpture!
It’s 3:30am, so please forgive the random nature of the images for this post, but wanted to give you a peek from tonight’s launch before i went to bed… Here’s a look at the new Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG in addition to the new Ducati Diavel ~ and during the press event, Gabriele del Torchio, President and CEO of Ducati came on stage together with Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG, they announced their new partnership to be working closely together! From AMG becoming one of the Moto GP team sponsors to starting to include Ducati bikes at AMG events and vice versa. It was interesting to see both machines in matte finishes, the CLS 63 in a matte grey, and the Diavel in a matte black/matte carbon fiber… both having such strong lines, the curves definitely stood out well in the lighting…
Ok, seriously, have to get some sleep before ending up at the press conferences in four or five hours, so sweet dreams, and there are lots of random picture details to feast upon on the next page!
There are some fascinating design shifts happening at Mercedes-Benz ~ from the design studio in Sindelfingen to Como to Tokyo to Carlsbad, the message was clear - the hunt is on for “Perfect Aesthetics” and in doing so, they are aggressively pushing their designs to be more fresh, young, emotional, and sexy ~ phrases like “enjoyment of innovation” + “inspire our customers” + “sensuality and joy” + “importance of perception” kept recurring in addition to talk of the future and fascination and playfulness. It was most definitely a buzzwordfest, but the excitement and passion of the design teams was impossible to ignore. There was an inescapable giddiness throughout the week around where the future may take us, and a need to think far beyond their more traditional production vehicles. Steffen Kohl’s gung ho push from the design side to gain the freedom to explore the insane ideas are guaranteed to frighten corporate types a bit. It’s inspiring to see his team indulge in the ideas designers dream about as students ~ you know, that awesomely idealistic time when you believe absolutely anything is possible?
A big part of this is the fight to create more artistic explorations through sculpture to push abstract concepts. The idea of art being key to Mercedes-Benz design strategies as well as a beautiful way to tease designs earlier in the year is intriguing. And i love these form studies of Oliver Samson, Thomas Stopka,Yves Renaud, and Sylvain Wehnert from Karim Habib’s team. Exploring lightweight forms to play with strength, perspective, and transparency, the results resemble polygons, honeycombs (all sharing one central perspective point), string art, and woven chaos. See them all on the next page!
Smart Fashion! Inevitable pun I suppose, but it’s both intelligent, and Smart - like the car. On unexpected design surprises, the last thing i expected when literally popping into Japan for an afternoon to visit Mercedes-Benz’s Tokyo studio, was to be drawn to the FASHION. The functional details worked into these two outfits are too fun not to focus on ~ and they are in fact, accessories to further flesh out the lifestyle they imagine along with the Smart escooter and concepts. Noteworthy details? The woman’s leather jacket has a button on back protector while riding… and when unbuttoned it also doubles as a clutch! Protective AND hands free? The designs on the dress are all made of reflective ribbon ~ perfect to keep you safer en route, yet also playful in a club. The skirt can be shorted with a quick tug to create cute rippled accents and bring it to a perfectly short length ~ but if that length may show a little too much when you hop on the scooter ~ easily lengthen it while riding! The men’s jacket has nice cuff details to protect your knuckles, yet is still sleek and doesn’t scream riding gear.
Random fun fact for design kids ~ the Mercedes Benz design team embraces “Cross Over Designers” (i.e. non-traditional automotive designers) and allows their designers to really focus on their strengths… There are 8-10 designers that focus on light design! They brought on an ex-Adidas shoe designer to focus on fun details because they loved his sketching style. One of their material & trim folks is a fashion designer… so maybe its no wonder that these “cross over designers” can add fresh perspectives and more well rounded concepts like these! There’s a certain thoughtfulness and completeness to the concept being taken so far as to include lifestyle accessories that strike a functionally chic balance in the Smart’s scooter fashion… take a peek at the details on the next page!
Today Mercedes-Benz unveiled its 1:1 scale model of the Biome concept car ~ their entry into this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge: 1000 pound car designed in their Carlsbad studio. Honestly, it’s one thing to dream up the future on paper/screens, another to make scale models… but to see the life size version today was spectacular! This sleek futuristic model plays with the notion that from the DNA of Mercedes, an organic skeletal structure can literally be grown into a beautiful minimalist bio-futuristic car, with a fierce almost plane like nose, wheels that are reminiscent of plane turbines, and a tron like glow… The interior skeletal structure even allows passengers to comfortably sit as if lounging together, a layout resembling seeds in a pod, with their heads coming together in the center of the car! The last few days has resulted in some incredible design inspiration, forward looking design trends, and so many intriguing details to get lost in… so let’s kick things off with tons of pics of the new life size models of the Biome on the next page! (as well as a peek at the model making and the adorable mini model they gifted us!)
I just went literally around the world in 4 days! And for all who agreed it sounded both awesome and horrifying all at once… Mercedes-Benz managed to make it impressively painless, luxuriously comfortable even ~ i actually may have both seen more and slept far more than usual ~ as i was catapulted between time zones so quickly, my body had yet to completely notice before ending up right back here in LA! So forgive me for going quiet the last few days… i honestly can’t recall the last time i’ve actually had so little internet (and barely enough time to even panic about it!) I’ve just touched back down to LA, though currently in Laguna Beach for a bit before LA Auto Week kicks off. The gist of the trip is “Timeless Design” where we visit 4 of Mercedes’ six global design studios, one after the other! So on weds night i left LA, ended up in Stuttgart Thurs night (via Munich) to see the Sindelfingen studio on Friday, then quickly to a private jet to Milan, where we drive to see the Como studio - spend the night in Milan (next to the duomo!) - saturday morning we take the jet to Frankfurt to hop on the beautiful A380 to Tokyo - pop into the Tokyo hotel for and hour and a half to freshen up before heading to the Tokyo studio - and then hop on another jumbo jet right back to LA… and here i am in Laguna Beach SUNDAY AFTERNOON! …with an hour before the meeting with the futurist, a million pictures to sort out… and we’ve yet to visit the Carlsbad studio, or play with the cars, or see the auto show. So, here’s some quick NotVentures/Operation Window Seating literally around the world on the next page to inspire you… the globe has never felt quite so small or diverse as it does right now, my head is still spinning trying to keep track of all the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen in such a tiny amount of time… surreal to say the least! While this is certainly not everything, and a bunch of flights were in the dark… see some of the most inspiring views i found!
p.s. As for the actual design inspiration and incredible studio peeks… coming soon. Somewhere between catching up on all the pics and making sense of a bigger story as the trip comes to a close!
How exciting is this prototype as far as greener sports cars go? But calm down a bit, unfortunately, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell gullwing isn’t scheduled until sometime in 2013… 526 horsepower, 649-pound-feet of torque, 0 to 60 in 4 seconds… just a smidge slower than its gas powered counterpart. As for this paint color… wow. It is apparently called “AMG lumilectric magno” paint. For more technical details check out the piece by Automobile Mag, for more lustworthy images ~ including a look at the intriguingly simple dashboard and carbon fiber center console, see the next page!
Going through the many pics filling up my laptop, i keep coming across so much i want to share with you! So here’s a weekend dose of inspiration courtesy of vintage Mercedes-Benz graphics and products… it was mind blowing to be whisked by so many incredible original posters and advertisements for the early models… and then walls filled with Mercedes-Benz branded products… from powder compacts to mother of pearl handled pocket knives… and fascinating cases of all of the model emblems… really, i could have spent hours just going through the visual language of the branding and extension of Mercedes-Benz in there! Will definitely have to go back and do it slowly one of these days! But for now… take a little peek into a few of the cases and unexpected design inspirations that caught my eye on the next page!
The Mercedes-Benz Museum ~ you’ve seen the elevators and tornado and while the cars and exhibitions are amazing, there are so many parts of the architecture that were surreal and beautiful! From the way they play with the constant combination of sun and artificial lighting, to the way the building is constantly leading you to swirl downwards from past to present, to the engraved concrete markings to denote what section you’re in, to the horse ~ the first… pre-automobile? It’s much like a car museum meets history museum meets sweeping art gallery filled with surprising textural juxtapositions at every turn… so take a peek at the next page for a full gallery of images ~ it’s less about the cars and more about the amazing images the space creates for you.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum houses an incredible amount of automotive history, unexpected surprises, and is in and of itself an absolutely mind blowing architectural space. That being said there are a million and one different posts i could write about it, and none would do it justice fully. So, let’s do this my way and start with my favorite detail… the ELEVATORS are amazing! When you enter the space, you can see straight up to the roof (and a peek at the sunlight coming in) as floors spiral all the way… you could even say the ceiling has a Mercedes-Benz star inspired shape… and then you notice what look three like vertical tracks going up… and these awesome metal pod (with abstract ghost like eyes/shape) moving up and down… it’s surreal. A bit overly concrete feeling (gave me a similar vibe to Oakley HQ’s entrance)… there was something very sterile/scifi feeling about the entrance space. I could have stood there and stared up at the mesmerizing symmetry of it all for ages. So see more close ups of it in action on the next page!
p.s. Also amazing are those giant panels… the ones that look like concrete? they arent. That’s how they move cars into the various floors.
p.p.s. Additionally, when it comes to ventilating the space and quickly dealing with a fire/etc… this building is the official world-record holder for the World’s Largest Artificial Tornado! It’s over 100ft, generated from the center of the roof… i’ve just updated the post with a few videos on the next page…
As with most car design studios, Mercedes-Benz’ Stuttgart Design Studio has a room with huge lustworthy displays, their Powerwall ~ which allows for 1:1 scale high res imagery of car images and renders, video conferencing with their studios around the world, and more. The most unique and beautiful aspect of their setup is their custom physical interface for Autodesk Showcase, which allows you to control the 3D renders! A light table with objects each encoded on the bottom… you can swap cars on the table to change colors, spin the car to spin the model, zoom/pan/tilt, and even change the clear acrylic blocks to swap the scenery… amazingly fun and beautifully executed! See more images of it on the next page.
p.s. Sadly, photography isn’t allowed in the studio (yes. they took our phones and cameras!), but we did have one awesome photographer indulging even some of my randomest requests… So images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz…