As the endless hype surrounding Chief Creative Director and Founder of Off-White and Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh continues to spread across all mediums of culture it was only a matter of time before someone handed him the keys to the automotive world. In this instance, it’s German luxury automotive company Mercedes-Benz, and the canvas of creation is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Abloh worked alongside the automative brands Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener to explore ways of disrupting future perceptions of luxury. An interesting objection from all viewpoints. The result is a distinctive and unique manifestation of the iconic G-Class.
The project was born out of the desire to support the arts at such a crucial time, we’re looking at you 2020, a replica of this design piece will be auctioned off. The auction is part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated, a series which is defined by the unique perspective of a different influential tastemaker each year. All proceeds from the auction go to a charity that supports international creative communities. Advanced bidding will begin on September 14th, 2020 so get out your black card.
The design of this unique G-Class art piece takes its inspiration from the experience of a race car while simultaneously keeping in mind the essentials of the original G-Wagon design and luxury ethos. Wagener and Abloh considered how the observer would look upon the vehicle and wanted to offer something of a fresh perspective. Trust us when we say that when you are inside a Mercedes G-Class SUV people ARE looking at you.
The exterior design does the heavy lifting of emphasizing the G-Class’s iconic silhouette. With a seemingly off white paint job, partially sanded to give it the feeling of a piece of art rather than a highway flex. While moments of colour draw your eye to the side exhaust and tires. Even the Three-Pointed Star Mercedes-Benz logo is monochromic off white colour. Meanwhile, on the rest of the exterior, the indicators, outside mirrors and the bumper bar have all been removed and the body of the car is widened and lowered.
Inside the toy-like art piece car, the racing inspiration is abundant. All the luxury of a Mercedes-Benz interior has been stripped away, the dashboard is removed and replaced with a clean, reduced version featuring an analogue speedometer and fuel gauges. The steering wheel and seats lean more towards a Formula 1 vehicle than a standard SUV. The key racing elements continue with the prominent and eye-catching baby blue safety frame, contrasted by the bright red of the 5 point seat belts, some key buttons, and the fire extinguisher.
Project Geländewagen is certainly a unique and interesting collaboration between the worlds of fashion, art and automotive. The fact that two of these cars? Art pieces? Concepts? have been made is a testament to Mercedes-Benz’s continued desire for innovation. We have always been impressed that the brand invests time, money and energy to create concept and vision cars whose only purpose is to test their innovation. Now thanks to Wagener and Abloh’s creation, Mercedes-Benz’ can add “artist” to their portfolio.