Silly as it sounds, sometimes running an ad on NOTCOT may be one of the best ways to get my attention (not surprising when you think about how much time i spend on the sites daily!) ~ latest one to really suck me in? These new Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011 ads! I’ve always been a sucker for bold, concise text though… and they are fun and inspirational! And so pro-making things and living your life! And from there, i ended up on the Jeep page and the Manifesto video just pulls you right in. A nice reminder of American design/manufacturing… and a fun morning kick off video!
Also fun? The design videos about the making of Jeeps, and seeing old video footage of how they used to design cut in with the design processes of today! See more videos and visuals on the next page!
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!
Another incredible installation at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart (first i showed you the sliced up porsches)… I stood and watched this wall a few times over. Mesmerized. It’s a wall with the outlines of 7 models of 911s overlayed. And that is QUITE the jumble, but then the projection fills in one outline at a time, and you can watch the evolution between the models overlaid. It’s amazing… to see how things tweaked, expanded, shifted, and more over time… See the video as well as pics on the next page…
… as well as a peek at the spinning platforms of 911s and this absolutely stunning 356 on the next page!
While it seems almost sacrilegious ~ this is in fact, a post all about a sliced up Porsche. Or a few. Or a few in various stages, demonstrating the design process of a Porsche in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. “How very Damien Hirst!” ~ is the first reaction i got showing the pics to a friend… it’s also one of the most beautiful and concise ways i’ve seen car design summarized! Mixed with videos at each station about the process as well of course too! And fun that they managed to fit in 3 stages of clay refining in one slice even… absolutely mesmerizing to see even the seats and first aid kit all sliced straight through… and even more fascinating to look at the way it made people of all ages stare in wonder… see images of the installation on the next page!
While rushing to a Molteni/Ferragamo event on Montenapoleone the other night (which was definitely a fire hazard with the number of people crammed in the store!) ~ i was pleasantly surprised and amused by the Citroën DS3 Design Driver ~ a huge red lamp serving as a lounge as you popped out at the Montenapoleone metro. A lamp that sized ~ wow ~ you just can’t help but smile when you see it!
According to FuoriSaloni - “The most refined heart of the city, Piazzetta Crocerossa, on the corner with Via Montenapoleone, will stage Citroën DS3 Design Driver, an original installation which will be used to unveil the latest creation to come out of the Citroën stable, the DS3, launched on the Italian market on the 21st of March. The installation bears the signature of the architect Fabio Rotella, whose aim was to create an “Open Air Living Room” where a six-metre-high lampshade covers and illuminates a lounge area… The large lampshade is reminiscent of the Venini lampshades hosted by Citroën in the lounge area as a valuable testimonial to a major name in Italian design. The unmistakable creations of the historic glass maker illuminate the exquisite chairs, recreating the atmosphere of an ideal lounge in which to meet and share ideas, projects and creativity.”
See more images of the stunning lamp 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.
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.
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…
Aston Martin’s Rapide touts itself as “The World’s Most Elegant Four-Door Sports Car”… while it is certainly entering a growing market of 4 door luxury sports cars… and you can read quite a bit about it all over the web, what struck me most about it in person were the tiniest details. Some found on quite a few Aston Martins, others quite Rapide specific… if you’re ready, take a peek at the details that grabbed my attention… most notable are definitely the tiny sphere of a trunk opening button and the +/- cut matte metal and leather paddle shifters… and what an aggressive face it has when you look at it straight on! Also while from the exterior it doesn’t actually look all that much bigger than the others, yet once you’re inside its ridiculously spacious ~ and the rear seats fold flat! Anyhow, take a peek at all the best details on the next page from my tour at the Aston Martin Factory!
I’ve been thinking of a million and one ways to start this post over the last year… So, here goes! In Nov 2008, i was in talks with Aston Martin’s London agency and it came up to have a post looking for someone UK local to go to the Aston Martin Factory in Gaydon for NOTCOT. That was supposed to happen a month or two later… and between scheduling and the economy shifting and Aston Martin’s tumultuous year… a lot changed for them, and for the winner… and so, it’s been a year and a bit, but they happened to have a last minute opening around their customer tours, and we were finally able to squeeze in a visit to the Aston Martin Factory while i was in London. And Tom, thank you for being so understanding!
Ok, so all that aside ~ how sexy is that curve where the One-77 body flows to the side mirror? Putting the iridescent color shifting periwinkle/grey aside, there’s something very batmobile aggressive to the look of the One-77… even more so in person than those initial press shots. Not yet in production, and already sold out for its limited run of 77 customizable supercars priced at $1.5-2 million a piece… it was fun to get to take a look at some of the design details of this prototype up close… take a peek at my favorite details on the next page… as well as a video of it in action!
Going through pictures from the London trip… i have so many i’ve been meaning to share from Aston Martin. Sadly, i wasn’t able to take pictures inside the actual factory other than some super glarey diagrams on the walls… and the lighting for most of the cars was a bit difficult, but lots of details and overviews to share! Unsure of where to start, this saddle jumped out at me when i was going through the pics… it’s like a picnic basket meets a horse saddle… for the hump in the backseat of your Aston Martin DBS… Apparently each saddle is individually handmade by Robin Coleman in Warwickshire. Each saddle takes two craftsmen 28 hours! It has room for everything including your bottle of wine! See more pics on the next page.
I showed you my dad's experience at the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy at the Laguna Seca track in Monterey... but as i went through his pictures, this carbon fiber wrapped Mercedes AMG SLS really deserved a post of its own. It's stunning! It's so overwhelmingly carbon fibered! Biggest downer for anyone lusting after it enough to try to purchase one, they aren't for sale, but i'm sure you can get someone to get it done for you, or even DIY it yourself if you're feeling handy. I can't seem to stop staring at the pics on the next page... see for yourself!
I'm jealous. Above is a pic of what my dad just told me is the "US-Spec AMG SLS for us to play with on the drag strip, slalom course and time trials." So, while i was traveling, my dad (i blame my jetsetting inclination on him) took off to the Laguna Seca Raceway up in Monterey for the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy. He got to drive the brand new AMG SLS and was lucky to be one of the first to experience the new AMG Driving Academy launched in the USA. 16 cars were specially flown in from Germany to accompany the 20 full time cars availble for the course. Luminary driver/instructors included: Tommy Kendall (USA), Bernd Maylander (F1 pace car driver) and Susie Stoddart (Mercedes DTM team driver from Europe). Basically i came home to emails of his incredible adventure... from giddy stories about how mindblowing the drives were (teasing me how much fun i would have had going 160 around the track in one of those beauties) to tales of the chef grilling alongside the track for lunch to inside looks at the stunning carbon fiber drive shaft to the amazing friends he made on the trip and stories he heard... bottom line? The course was totally worth it, and he'd do it again in a heartbeat... in fact, there are 5 levels of courses happening around the US as well as Europe... i think he's caught the bug, since he's already dreaming about Sweden. I think i might have to try and convince him to take me along next time! But for now... i've convinced him to let me share his pictures with us ~ take a peek on the next page to see the experience!
There is also the amazing carbon fiber wrapped car that looked amazing ~ pics to come of that one soon!
Oh, BMW. Haha. Nothing like a hilarious new video from BMW, for BMW.tv, which manages to poke fun at Audi while simultaneously making you giggle and inspire you to want to leap into your car as you take off for work this monday morning. While their first Jump For Joy video launched two days ago ~ its the twist that got added in this latest version that will really make you gasp... then giggle. Watch it on the next page!
Beauty in Technology post series sponsored by Samsung’s new LED TVs! Final post in this series exploring random beauty in technology, NOTCOT style. Let me just take a second here to say a huge THANK YOU, SAMSUNG. As you may have noticed, they are doing quite a bit of sponsoring here on NOTCOT, and they've been making some impressive leaps and bounds on the design side of their tech lately ~ so it's been an honor to work with them, and have them support what i'm doing here! (Especially when they let me help do it MY way, have it look fun, and basically just further enable me to write about what i love!). So, Samsung, if you're listening, thanks for that. You guys have been amazing. Now on to that lustworthy porsche i've been drooling over for about a week...
I kid you not, i've been a bit behind and traveling, but since i laid eyes on that press release, this beauty has been open in my tabs, and every time i start getting a post together i get distracted by how cute it is... So on to the facts: Debuting at the Frankfurt auto show this month - 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic. Limited to 250 pieces, the Porsche Exclusive team has been fine tuning this one for 3 years - "Porsche Exclusive is Porsche's Specialist Department for the most outstanding customised versions of Porsche cars going beyond even the highest standard of the Company's regular production models." So are you ready to see more drool inducing pics and the full press release? Check it out on the next page... video too!
I can't even remember the last time a piece of mail made me literally JUMP (and yes, maybe shriek slightly...) - and please do NOT take this as a challenge! But i was however intrigued enough to share this super simple design with you ~ complete with video so you can experience it too. Nissan Cube - well done. You got me. As much as i hate cubist cars, this is just too fun a use of paper and rubberbands not to share... so check out video and pics on the next page!
No one recycles styrofoam the way Michael Salter does. And i know that any time i get an email from him, there is probably something amazing coming in... and this time it was truly epic! He has created a life size Formula 1 race car out of styrofoam!!! Take a look at his latest show at the Portland John Ross Plaza Studio... "a full scale replica of a Formula One race car made from scrap styrofoam pieces, 3 pretty big wall paintings, and 24 framed digital drawings." Wow. Lots of pics on the next page ~ check it out from all angles!
On fun eco-friendly toys i stumbled upon while toy shopping recently (and then had to buy to share!) ~ Check out this E-Racer (the name is also hilarious) ~ made from cut bamboo tubes, it's cute to see how closely it keeps its form! It claims that it is "Naturally fun" and made with bamboo, water based colors, and renewable materials (i assume they mean the metal screws and the plasticy exhaust, and rubbery wheels)... the packaging was horrible, so if i ever end up gifting one of these to a kid, will definitely unwrap it first! See an unboxing and more close up pics of these adorable eco-race cars on the next page!
Have you ever seen the inside of an Aston Martin? Like REALLY seen the inside? Well i stopped by the NY presentation of the new DBS Volante at the Cooper Square Hotel last night, and out front was an aston martin literally cut in half... well stripped down and with half its shell? It was fascinating! Take a peek at the pics on the next page!
A Rolls Royce engineer's wife mentions that she doesn't know where to put her purse when she's in the car. Solution? A purse pop out section of the back seat complete with wings to support the width of the purse, and as soon as it senses your purse, it automatically has a piece that slides up to give it a little squeeze and hold it in place. Yes! I'm serious. There's a video on the next page to show you. And in case you are wondering, their design team is a tiny 10 person team in the UK, and the only woman is their color & trim specialist.
Ok so to backtrack a bit ~ this morning i was invited to the Rolls Royce 200EX preview in Beverly Hills. This concept car launched in Geneva and is currently making its worldwide debut city by city ~ and will go into production in 2010. While i've never quite been a Rolls kind of girl, i was impressed with the details, and it was fascinating to see and hear the design stories. So for this post, we'll focus on the details, and work out to the car and event itself through pictures on the next page...
Ooooooh car lust. Was giddily surprised when i was picked up by one of the 2010 Prius Prototypes tonight to go check out the Scion/GR Papershapers show tonight ~ more on that later ~ but the car... in person... SO cute. SO quiet. And so many little details to gush over ~ but really, maybe part of me just really wants a car with a solar roof?!?!?! The displays and iconography are beautifully mesmerizing... The shifter is strangely small and toy like... almost like a travel mouse? (really thin and easily to wrap your fingers right over) It's also tauntingly placed where even as a passenger i was so tempted to shift it (but i didn't!). The toyota logo has a blue outline to it (it was a coincidence that this car was blue, the logo colors do not always match the paint colors) ~ apparently these will be on all of the upcoming hybrids (and the Lexus ones in red). And the angularity of the rear and sharper lines on the sides made me far more drawn to this latest design... so tempting! For more real info on the new Prius, take a peek at their site and for more real world pics, see the next page!
Ok i'm a bit deliriously tired at the moment ~ but wanted to get something up to show you! And for a sneak peek at the truly epic Scion/GR Papershapers show, see the images here ~ i'll make more logical posts out of those tomorrow!
Mmmm Porsche Design Editions ~ I've had a soft spot for these since the first Design Edition 1 Cayman in 2007 ~ those matte black stripes on black, those elegant details...
"The special edition „Cayenne Porsche Design Edition 3" is based on the Cayenne GTS with 4.8-litre V8 engine. The exterior eye-catcher of the special edition is a metallic lava gray lacquering, design stripes on the sides and on the engine hood and even the standard 21-inch Sport Plus have an elegant metallic grey finish. For the interior design the designers choose an elegant as well as sportive combination of black leather and red contrast stitching, which continue on the dashboard and on the doorbrushes. Each model has a badge on the glove compartment."
Gorgeous! Check out more details on the next page ~ as well as a peek at the matching watch and luggage collection... and the previous two design editions!
And i just got another semi-exclusive (well, they said 5 sites get access?) video about the design and history behind this handmade, gorgeous Aston Martin One-77... see the video and more stills on the next page!
Aston Martin has just launched its One-77 ~ only 77 in the production run... they are saying over 100 buyers had already signed up and put down a £200,000 deposit without even SEEING this £1.2m beauty... Everyone was teased with the appropriately referenced upskirt shots coming out of the Paris Auto Show, where they only revealed a portion of the car under a cover! Where are they ending up? Only six in the U.S. to be exact, with just five destined to stay in the UK out of the total production run of 77 (says autoblog). You must admit its mesmerizingly beautiful, the curves are absolutely stunning...
"One-77 fuses advanced technology with stunning Aston Martin design to create possibly the world's most desirable automotive art form. Based on a sophisticated carbon fibre chassis with a handcrafted aluminium body, this 7.3 litre V12 super car will deliver exhilarating performance for a strictly limited number of discerning customers." Take a look at more sneak peeks of this luscious new design on the next page, and check out the video of what it's all about.
So here's where it gets really interesting ~ especially for our UK readers (or anyone who can be in the UK first week of Dec) ~ Aston Martin invited me to come out and tour their factory and see the car itself ~ unfortunately the timing is terrible and far too last minute as much as i'm dying to get out there! So, i thought i'd invite a reader to help cover it for me! SO, WHO WANTS TO VISIT ASTON MARTIN'S GAYDON FACTORY? Think you're a perfect fit? Know a car lover with mad photography skills? More details on the next page after the pics and videos of this beautiful work of art. (I could stare at these for ages, i'm already jealous of whoever gets to go!)
NOTCOT Note: Lucky! Sub-Studio was invited to go see Chicago through the eyes of Volkswagen, specifically while cruising around in their new 2009 CC, while dining on molecular gastronomy goodness, and checking out the humble abode of Frank Lloyd Wright ... and all we got is a post filled with pictures of Anna's adventures! I'm so fascinated by the studio and foodie pics on the next page!
A few weeks ago, I made a trip out to Chicago to review and test drive the new Volkswagen 2009 CC. Along the way, we got to see Chicago, have a 20-course dinner at molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto, and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in the Oak Park suburbs of the city. Check out my adventures through pictures on the next page!