There’s something amazing that will never grow old about perfectly hand crafted goods. Also the sound of my Mercedes AMG C63 Coupé engine… it just screams - happy. One of the incredible aspects of AMG is that each engine is hand built by a single person ~ thus, One Man, One Engine. And everyone engine comes out of their beautiful factory in Affalterbach, Germany. While doing things a little backwards, i met the man who built my engine before i met my car! Darius Garbas is the man behind my engine, and so far it seems like he’s done an incredible job with it. What i love is how much pride and passion they all seemed to have at the factory ~ and how nice they all were! There’s a plaque that reads “Leidenschaft, Leistung, und Verantwortung.” along with the signed plaques of EACH engineer building engines ~ and it means “Passion, Power, and Responsibility.” So take a peek into the One Man, One Engine world of Mercedes-AMG and meet Darius (and my engine!) on the next page.
Entries tagged with: germany
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On my adventure to see where my AMG C63 Coupé (like the one we tried on the track!) will come from, Shawn Sims joined me with his automotive and engineering expertise on the adventure to the factories to learn about the whole process. He rounded up our story in Bremen below for you!
As we raced to the Mercedes-Benz factory along the Autobahn from Hamburg to Bremen, I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy German engineering mega-center we were about to stumble into. We arrive at the campus (more like small town) of the 15,000,000 sqft factory that has over 12,000 people inside. Starting at from the customer welcome center (where the GT5 set up greeted us and where you can pick up your new car directly), we first watch a video overview of how Mercedes’ are produced and get a peek at the people and machines behind them. Then we headed into Building 9; a pristine, lively, mechanical wonderland responsible for the production of the C-class (as well as a few others simultaneously). There are over 8.5 kilometers of assembly lines in Building 9 alone, and the majority are stations for assembly by hand. Each employee on the line is trained in multiple positions so that day to day work changes. Supply trucks are whizzing by, car bodies flying on overhead tracks, robots twisting and turning, all while the seemingly endless hall is filled with the sounds of motors, robots, drills, and presses. We have entered an engineering mecca!
Photos wouldn’t even do the mesmerizing process justice, so check out the great introduction video we saw (the robots really are quite incredible), as well as our pics and videos of the adventure on the next page.
After the Mercedes-Benz Bremen factory, we drove down about 6 hours (Fun! Intense! Autobahn adventures!) to Stuttgart ~ and getting in around midnight, we promptly settled in to Der Zauberlehrling, a cute little design hotel, with only a few hours to work, clean up, sleep ~ and hop back on the road by morning! Nestled in the Sunrise room, you can get a peek at the unique space! The patio made me wish i colud have stayed longer to relax a bit! See it all on the next page.
On amazing little journeys ~ we started at the dock/house/helipad area on the water where we originally met the group of Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadsters… and our bags were waiting for us to head to the airport… via helicopter! So i have some video of the quick flight along the Cote du Azur as well as the landing (i felt like i was in a toy as we came in to land, it’s fun riding shotgun!) Then on to a quick Nice to Munich flight… over the alps, which are always stunning. The shadows. The way the snowy mountain tips peek through the fluffy clouds. The melting snow into lakes. The tiny green towns tucked between it all… and before landing there were amazing amounts of teeny tiny sail boats below out in a lake! Take a peek at all of it on the next page!
I tweeted yesterday that i was in Black & White heaven with AMG in Affalterbach, Germany. Have you ever just walked into a space and felt ~ just right in it? The black an white, the beautifully versatile lighting, and so many iconic designer furniture pieces put together so nicely ~ while pulling together car accoutrements, the ducati from transformers, a wall of design inspiration books and toys, and the focal point being a stunning mural made by the AMG designers out of TAPE. You’d barely realize it is layer upon layer of sketches on velum with tape until you get extremely close to it (and check out the making of pics as well). This new lounge only opened a few months ago in early summer 2011 ~ and apparently “The new AMG Private Lounge in Affalterbach is an exclusively and unusually designed meeting-point in which to spend time. We see it as a second living-room for our customers. We want the AMG Private Lounge in Affalterbach to provide the perfect setting for the most exciting day of the year - for example when our customers take possession of their new AMG-Mercedes here in Affalterbach,” said Ola Kallenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. So, while my car is apparently on a boat headed to LA already, it was still magical to wander into the world of AMG and see where these clean modern designs met the heart of the racing company in what was once a farm house and corn fields. More to come on the engines and factory and the world of AMG, but first, take a peek at the new lounge design and the surprising mural!
On fun Berlin discoveries, my favorite store of the moment is a teeny, tiny, beautifully minimalist little stationery shop that just turned 10(!) ~ R.S.V.P. Papier in Mitte! And on irresistible pens, i had to have some of these Kaweco Pens (German made, and around since 1883) from the 30s ~ so pocket sized, so simple in their black and white plastic with both rollerball and fountain pen tips, and so many fun ink colors ~ all of which are in awesome packaging! The pens also come in more traditional aluminum in silver, charcoal, and black. These are all totally fun, affordable giftiness. The store is a wonderland of notebooks, cards, stickers, pens/pencils and more SO carefully curated and displayed. And, luckily they have an online store that ships internationally too! So quick hotel room photoshoot of the goodies on my Soho House floor, as well as a peek into the store ~ check it all out on the next page!
A 10 hour nap, a quick stop in frankfurt, and suddenly here i am in gloomy Berlin. More specifically, currently curled up at Soho House Berlin ~ the german outpost of the international member’s clubs and boutique hotel. For fun history - “Originally opened in 1928 as a department store, the property was seized by the wartime government before being occupied by the post-war, Communist regime until 1956. It was then used to house the Communist Party archives and the Central Committee’s Historical Institution. After German reunification the building was legally returned to the descendents of its original owners, but has remained derelict until now.” The boutique hotel aspect has 40 rooms, and while you still can’t take pictures anywhere (restaurants, bars, rooftop pools, gym, spa, art in the lobby, etc), here’s a peek into my room… it’s all the lovely little vintage product details that are adorable… also adore all the Cowshed goodness… and there’s a “Time To Tease” minibar of toys under lock and key (which include a dumbell-esque lolly-for-two)… and even tampons/condoms in cute little linen bags in the bathroom… check out all the fun details 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!
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!
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!
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!
As you’ve noticed by now, i have been recently fascinated by the world from above ~ and not in just a google satellite view ~ but amazing views of cities and the in betweens as dramatic sunsets and sunrises hit them… So thanks to Mercedes who was incredibly kind to bring me to Stuttgart to learn more about their world (even when i needed to come from Singapore and leave to Milan)… here’s another installment of what my friend and i have been calling Operation Window Seat! Doing it backwards, on the next page you can see pics as i come in to Milan from Stuttgart… then Stuttgart on my way from Singapore… amazing how the terrain changes ~ and the lighting!