Mercedes-Benz is not only treating visitors to the North American International Autoshow 2010 in Detroit to the world premiere of the new E-Class Cabriolet and innovative technology, but also placing a beautifully executed automobile sculpture at centre stage. It represents a vehicle body taking soft, flowing form from a level surface – as if an automobile of liquid silver was being created, or a shimmering cloth was gently draped over a newly conceived design. As if by a natural process, clearly contoured surfaces are ordered and delineated by sharply drawn, curved lines. They lend the sculpture an organic appearance, giving it a future and origin.
The sculpture is an exclusive, sensuous creation and extraordinarily eye-catching. But it also transports car design into a new, artistic reality. “To us, automobile design means artistic, aesthetically and sensuously oriented creation”, says Head of Design Prof. Gorden Wagener. “Mercedes-Benz designers translate their artistic inspiration into the modern idiom of Mercedes-Benz automobile design, which combines dramatic details with harmony, style and passion. Mercedes-Benz design is clear, calm and consistent, but yet emotional and highly sensuous. Mercedes-Benz is the brand best able to present automobile design as an art form in an authentic way.”
As an extraordinary jewel of automotive artistry, the sculpture uses its flowing, cloth-like connection to its surroundings and the resulting pattern of folds to symbolise the positively and negatively curved surfaces of the modern Mercedes-Benz design strategy. This is characterised by dramatic, full surfaces whose proportions are attractively defined by fine, softly emerging but sharply contoured lines.
Viewing the sculpture can conjure up many associations. Perhaps a sand dune or a snowdrift, a viscous substance such as hot lava or mercury from which an automobile is being created. The sculpture imitates the formative power of nature: flowing elements change their shape as the form of a new automobile emerges in line with the dynamic laws of gravity and aerodynamics, making this form vaguely visible and solidifying into a work of art with the appearance of a casting possessing contours and clear definitions. It shows shapes and lines that appear natural gradually taking the form of a vehicle body, a sensuous basic structure on which curving, sinewy lines create emotional contours. An aesthetic transformation, “shaped by nature” and the artistic imagination of the designer.
Inspired by and taking its origin from the forces of nature, this artistically executed sculpture also symbolises the key basic values of the Mercedes-Benz brand – intelligent technology and quality, sensuous beauty, style, dynamism and innovative strength for well over a century. Coupled with respect for man and nature. Mercedes-Benz is one of the few automobile companies able to communicate this credibly as a work of art.
This is also reflected in the shining Alubeam silver paint finish, which interacts with the contours of the sculpture to create multi-facetted areas of light and shade. At the same time this Mercedes colour is a reference to the glorious motor racing history of the Mercedes-Benz brand, but also suggests visions of the day after tomorrow and promises the innovations of the future.
This high-quality sculptural depiction was essentially created as an attempt by Mercedes-Benz Design to show the cultural feeling and creativeness of its designers in the five international design studios in Germany, Italy, the USA, Japan and China, to further their artistic ideals and develop a design for Mercedes-Benz. “Many of our designers come from artistic families, carry artistic ambitions in their genes, so to speak, and found their way into automobile design via their artistic talent,” is how Prof. Gorden Wagener explains the potential.
With this sculpture, Mercedes-Benz provides an insight into the thinking and perceptions of its team of designers and model-makers. While a design idea initially takes shape on paper, it is subsequently modelled in clay. This is sculptural work in its purest form, and eminently suitable for finding new shapes and creating sensuousness. The automobile as an art form, with heavy concentration on attention to detail that also includes the interior design and choice of materials.
Designing and modelling at Mercedes-Benz Design has a great deal to do with creativity and the work of artists – though art for art’s sake is certainly not the intention behind this sculpture! The form of an automobile that suggests itself here in such an artistically sophisticated and encoded way is only vaguely perceptible. Nonetheless the basic proportions challenge the onlooker to interpret the shape of the future, real product that may be nearing the end of its flowing design process. Amazement and speculation in equal measure.